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Our Guide to NYC’s Top Kentucky Derby Parties

cute-mint-juleps-kentucky-derby-600x399New Yorkers may not have an actual horse in the race when it comes to the Kentucky Derby, but lord knows, we never miss an excuse to party, especially when said celebrations include Deep South-inspired snacks and bourbon-based beverages!  So don your freshly-pressed seersucker suits and gaily-colored, over-the-top hats this coming Saturday, May 7th, and head to one of these reliably ebullient fetes…

Saxon + Parole: Did you know that Saxon and Parole were actually two 19th century thoroughbred race horses, who competed in the Kentucky Derby during the height of their careers?  So it’s no wonder that the “Run for the Roses” is a big deal at this Bowery restaurant, where for $90, decoratively dressed celebrants will enjoy oysters, seafood towers, deviled eggs and other Kentucky-inspired tidbits, as well as a mint julep station offering seasonal twists on the classic, an opportunity to bet on the race for fun gifts and prizes, and heartland tunes from a live bluegrass band.
316 Bowery, (212) 254-0350

Esquire-Derby-Madison-Park-220Greenwood Park: This Brooklyn beer garden serves as home base for the borough’s biggest Derby Day event.  Hosted by the team behind Brooklyn Derby (a website dedicated to the guiding principle of “Living Every Day Like the First Saturday in May”), the spectacular, 600 person-strong party includes an open julep bar, all-you-can-eat Southern snacks, music and dancing, tricycle racing, corn tossing, and a parade of hats, where attendees can show off the chapeaus created in an on-site hat making station.
555 7th Ave., (718) 499-7999

042513derbyThe 21 Club: Needless to say, this iconic, former Prohibition-era speakeasy has been celebrating Triple Crown season for generations.  Although now, guests at their $65 per person Kentucky Derby festivities can drink their Maker’s Mark Mint Juleps and G.H. Mumm Champagne in plain sight, accompanied by refined Southern nibbles, such as Cornmeal Fried Oysters with remoulade and Bourbon Ham on biscuits.
21 W 52nd St., (212) 582-7200

Harding’s: You might as well camp out on East 21st Street this week, starting with a Cinco de Mayo fiesta at Cosme, and proceeding to a Derby Day party at its all-American neighbor, Harding’s.  In addition to projecting “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” across their brick wall, they’ll be shaking up and dishing out specials such as Mint Juleps,
Peach Old Fashioned Cocktails, Fried Chicken, Popcorn Shrimp and much more.
32 E 21st St., (212) 600-2105

gimletThe Bell House: The all-day festivities at Brooklyn’s ultimate event space, The Bell House, will surely give Greenwood Park a run for its money.  For only $10 at the door, revelers will get down to music from NYC’s award-winning brass ensemble, The Hungry March Band, partake in Mint Julep drink specials, and enjoy a hyper-regional food menu of Burgoo Stew, Benedictine and Bacon on Brioche, and Chocolate Julep Pie.
149 7th St., (718) 643-6510

MintJulep1.1Bounce Sporting Club: Hardly your average sticky-floored, beer-soused sports bar, this Flatiron club sets a chic, slick stage for taking in the Kentucky Derby, providing Mint Julep Table Service kits, lessons on how to saber bottles of champagne, special appetizers and even an opportunity to win tickets to next year’s race in Louisville.
55 W 21st St., (212) 675-8007

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