Ladies: grab your biggest hat and gentlemen: bring out your best seersucker suit. It’s Kentucky Derby 2017 – the one Saturday in May when NYC bars, clubs, and restaurants adopt southern food and drinks all in the name of Derby Day. This event is essentially a kickoff to summer day drinking – an excuse to pop a bottle at noon. Sad about not making it to Churchill Downs for the festivities? Don’t worry, NYC is turning out and turning up for the day. We rounded up our favorite places in the city to watch the race and get your fill of mint juleps.
14th Annual Brooklyn Derby 4-8pm, tickets start at $80
This event is perfect for: you and your entire squad
This Brooklyn bash has gained quite the reputation for putting on an amazing Derby Day bash. The event is in it’s 14th year and keeps getting better each year. Located in Greenwood Park, this event has 13,000 square feet devoted to celebrating the Kentucky Derby. Highlights include a variety of southern style snacks, 4 hours of mint juleps, champagne, beer, and wine and a DIY hat making station.
316 Bowery. Tickets start at $120
This event is perfect for: you and your bestie
Named for racehorses itself, Saxon + Parole is a perfect destination for sipping mint juleps all afternoon before watching the two most exciting minutes in sports. This ticketed event includes unlimited bubbles and beer and some derby-inspired light bites (don’t worry, there will be fried chicken). Paired with a live bluegrass band, live betting, and awesome prizes, this event is a true Derby soiree.
Pier A Harbor House. Free Admission.
This event is perfect for: celebrating with the whole fam
This harbor house transforms into the self-proclaimed “Churchill Downs of the North” for Derby Day. The event begins at 1pm on their outdoor plaza with mint juleps flowing and southern hors d’oeuvres. The party continues into their Long Hall Gastro Pub with food specials and Derby Day cocktails to keep you busy until race time. Come dressed to impress for this waterfront event while cheer on your favorite horse.
200 E 3rd St. Tickets: $60
This event is perfect for: you and your boyfriend
If you’re trying to avoid the massive crowds but still want to do Derby Day right, this soiree at root & bone is perfect. This event includes open bar cocktails, beer, wine, and more plus southern style bites right straight from the root & bone kitchen (i.e. their famous sweet tea brined fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits, brb drooling). Come dressed in your best fascinator and you might even win a prize!
Renaissance Midtown Hotel. Free Admission
This event is perfect for: partying with your coworkers turned BFF’s
Get ready to party it up and play some lawn games at NYC’s largest outdoor space. Bring your favorite coworkers and celebrate Derby Day at Midtown hot spot Rock & Reilly’s “Run for the Roses” event. Hit up their make your own mint julep station and come dressed in your best southern racetrack style. There will even be a prize for the best custom hat, so ladies – get crafting.
By: Abby Smith
A classy and sassy dog-loving millennial who splits her time between NYC and MD. When she’s not studying for communications classes, the Pace University student loves exploring NYC and all it has to offer. Also a contributor for Spoon University and blogger for action based accessories and apparel brand La Cle.