You can dine on a 21-ounce $17 burger, pineapple-shaped chocolate and special “bailout” fries as Barack Obama’s being sworn in as president, but if you really want to forget about the recession, head for the free champagne or hot chocolate. All around Harvard Square, businesses are coming up with creative ideas to celebrate the inauguration next Tuesday.

You can dine on a 21-ounce burger, pineapple-shaped chocolate and special “bailout” fries as Barack Obama’s being sworn in as president, but if you really want to forget about the recession, head for the free champagne or hot chocolate.


All around Harvard Square, businesses are coming up with creative ideas to celebrate the inauguration next Tuesday.


The Harvard Book Store will provide free bubbly for the first 60 people during live screening in the Third Room at 11:30 a.m. Visitors can choose between straight champagne and mimosa.


At Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers, the famous burger place plans to release its first triple-decker, 21-ounce hamburger — and special “bailout” fries — on the same day.


The "Inauguration Burger" is described as a “historically large burger for a historically large party,” general manager Bill Bartley said. The plain $17 burger’s tagline is “smothered in hype,” because if any toppings were included, “it would be too expensive,” Bartley said.


Mr. Bartley’s, known for its entrees named after politicians and celebrities, is one of several Cambridge businesses offering festivities on Tuesday morning. Harvard Square will place a big-screen TV in the middle of Harvard Square’s “pit.” And not too far away, the Charles Hotel will be offering free hot chocolate, raffle prizes and an opportunity to skate at its rink in what’s being called an “ObamaRama Inaugural Gala on Ice” from 5 to 10 p.m.


Other indulgences offered in Harvard Square include a special Barack Obama chocolate assortment sold at L.A. Burdick Chocolate Café, featuring a Hawaiian pineapple with an embossed “O,” said Bill Hall, the café’s manager.


Curious George Books and Toys will display several dozen Obama books in its window, in addition to other political books, said general manager Bindy Fleischman.


“We’ve had them since primaries,” Fleischman said. “The interest was there, and we restocked and restocked.”


Other festivities will continue into the evening. The Middle East Club in Central Square will host an Inauguration Night Show in its upstairs club at 9 p.m., featuring Archelon, which covers the late ’90s band Presidents of the United States of America, and Death and Taxes.


The Middle East’s Clay Fernald said the club might even host “Segway Abe.”


“[He’s] a good friend of ours … you may have seen riding around town in a Segway dressed as Abe Lincoln,” Fernald said.


If you’re hungry for an inauguration special, UpStairs on the Square will serve a special dinner menu costing $44, to represent the 44th president, Mary-Catherine Deibel, co-owner and operator, said. The dinner menu and Tuesday’s lunch menu include “Foie a change with grilled pineapple,” “Yes we can … liberally peppered steak” and “Mile-high expectations lemon meringue pie.”


Beginning at noon, the restaurant will also serve “Swearing-in-the-Afternoon Bar Specials” such as “I Can See White Russians,” and “other loony leftist libations,” according to a press release. The night will finish with an inaugural ballroom dance with the Winiker Orchestra.


“We’re big Obama fans, and it’s the most historical inauguration since we’ve been alive, so we’ve drawn in the community to celebrate these events,” said Diebel.


Cambridge Chronicle