More than 250 people packed Nighttown in Cleveland Heights Wednesday night to watch the first presidential debate.
Patch and Nighttown sponsored the event, which raised more than $1,000 for the Friends of the Heights Libraries.
The crowd clinked glasses when the debates started to silence the bustling throng that squeezed into several rooms of the jazz club and restaurant.
The heavily Democratic group cheered and applauded President Barack Obama’s comments. But the Mitt Romney fans had little chance of hearing their candidate during some moments of the debate. He was met with boos, hisses, shouting and noisemakers. Heated conversations launched after some of his statements.
That's what people said they came out for.
“This is a major debate, and it’s much more fun to watch with people," said Pat Fallon, adding she loves to see the reaction of the crowds.
Many said it was their first time joining a debate watch party.
"Normally I watch it with girlfriends, in my slippers," said Charlene Higginbothan.
Cahir McDeVitt said he usually goes to Nighttown to hear music, not to listen to presidential candidates.
"I was going to watch the debate anyway, but I thought it would be fun tonight in a communal setting."
Most people headed home after the event, but some stuck around to talk about what they thought.
One woman thought moderator Jim Leher favored Romney. Debate watcher Joyce Norr said she didn’t think he enforced the rules of the debate enough — and that one candidate got an unfair advantage.
“I don’t even care what they — the pundits — say. What it looks like to the average person — that’s what I care about. And Jim Leher let Mitt Romney take command,” Norr said.
Cleveland Heights resident Neil Slobin said he thought it was a "good, substantive debate."
"I did not think there was a lot of sniping. As much as there's been on the news about the '47 percent' this week, no one brought that up. And I think that's a good thing."
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