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Down at the CNN Grill ...

The Google Lounge has front lawn complete with chairs beanbag games.

The Google Lounge has a front lawn, complete with chairs and beanbag games.

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Updated: September 5, 2012 3:58PM



When you’re not actually conventioning at the Democratic National Convention, there are a number of one-week-only options within blocks of the Time Warner Cable Arena.

You can drink a beer from a CNN logo glass at the CNN Grill.

You can play beanbags near the “front lawn” of the Google Lounge.

You can get a cocktail and say hello to Charlie Rose at the Bloomberg Link lounge.

Or maybe get a little blueberry pie with Al Sharpton at the MSNBC headquarters.

A number of media entities have taken over local establishments and turned them into TV studios — and restaurant/bar/lounges. The CNN Grill is normally a Mexican cantina. When the convention is over, Bloomberg will dismantle their sleek digs like a scene out of a modern-day version of “The Sting,” and Gold’s Gym will be back in business.

Each night, the CNN Grill is packed to the rafters with politicians, delegates and reporters. On Tuesday alone, the guest roster included Jeff Bridges, Rep. Barney Frank, Adrien Grenier, Patricia Arquette, Anderson Cooper, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rosario Dawson. As patrons chowed down on the free food and enjoyed cold beer or wine, Piers Morgan conducted his nightly show in one, extremely well-lit corner of the bar.

It was like watching CNN on TV in a bar while being inside the TV. As well as the bar.

To nobody’s surprise, the Google setup is the quirkiest, from the grown-up playground furniture inside to the bright exterior, painted in Google home page colors. The Google self-driving car is parked outside on the plastic turf lawn, and there are a couple of Google logo beanbag games set up in the parking lot.

An executive with one of the networks that has erected a makeshift headquarters told it cost “a lot” (no specifics), but the investment is worth it, what with the lounge being a magnet for elected officials, Hollywood celebs and well-known reporters.

Not to mention the free publicity to be gained from guys like me that write or talk about it.



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