It feels like no matter how niche it is, people love a good theme bar. From intricate tiki bars, to Christmas bars, even trailer park themed bars, these are just the tip of the boozy, themed iceberg.

Now a new Albany bar is hoping to cash in on the Capital Region’s rich history in a way that is turning heads, not just because of the theme, but the upscale amenities it promises. But if you agree that drinking and politics should never mix, you’ll want to steer clear.

Gentlemen! You Can’t Fight In Here. This is…


The War Room Tavern, opening on the former site of Public House 42 on Eagle Street, will be a political themed bar from Todd Shapiro, owner of NYC PR firm Todd Shapiro Associates. So how do you bring politics into the bar? The War Room wants to add favorite dishes of New York politicians to the menu, and hopefully even snag some recipes from state leaders.

Besides its full bar, The War Room will also serve upscale fare like steaks with a particular emphasis on sushi. That menu addition was inspired by Shapiro’s perceived sushi drought in Downtown Albany. Also on his list of city woes to fix: The War Room will be open until midnight or later.

Canvassing For Décor

Print shows a portrait of New York State gubernatorial candidate Theodore Roosevelt with candidate for Lieutenant Governor Timothy L. Woodruff.
US Library of Congress

Because of Albany’s incredible political history and pedigree, The War Room hopes not just to attract the electoral elite in person but also their memorabilia. The idea is to have the place fully covered and decked-out with campaign buttons, leaflets, flags, and even clothes from politicians. If you have any political collectibles of Roosevelts, Rockefellers, or any other New York notables that the bar could display, Shapiro asks you email him at

Shapiro talked with the Times Union and doesn’t seem too concerned about the theme putting too many people off.

“It won't be for everyone. We'll be going after the legislators, lobbyists, people who work in government and anybody who loves politics."

Shapiro has also purchased the property next door to transform it into Todd’s Back Door, a cigar shop and lounge that will have an exclusive members-only level. The bar is supposed to open sometime this fall, but so far the city says no liquor license has been applied for. A temporary liquor license takes 30 days to obtain.

No word yet on if the bathroom will be formally named The Situation Room, but it would fit…

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