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Eat and Drink

Kentucky Derby day: NYC events, parties, specials

It’s time to dust off your seersucker suits and outlandish hats.

The Kentucky Derby is on May 5. And although the annual race is held more than 700 miles away at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, there are plenty of ways to get in the spirit right here in New York City.

Because it lands on Cinco de Mayo, some bars are celebrating "Cinco de Derby" or "Derby de Mayo," mixing the food and décor of each event into one party.

So, whether you’re all about the mint juleps, Southern eats or the horses, here’s where to watch the "greatest two minutes in sports." And it goes without saying, your finest Derby day attire is strongly encouraged.

The VNYL

<a href=Vnyl will screen the derby on" width="853" height="640" />
Photo Credit: OLEG MARCH

Vnyl will screen the derby on its 36-foot-tall projector screen and serve juleps and a Caipirinha with a chocolate twist. (100 Third Ave.)

The Roof

Enjoy southern jazz as you sip on a
Photo Credit: Noah Fecks

Enjoy southern jazz as you sip on a mint or raspberry julep and munch on southern food dishes, and if you are deemed the best dressed in your derby-style get-up, you could win a gift certificate to The Roof. (Free entry, 1 p.m., 124 W. 57th St., theroofny.com)

Umami Burger

Come dressed in your Kentucky best for the
Photo Credit: Hudson Hotel / Maker's Mark

Come dressed in your Kentucky best for the Best Hat Contest for the ladies and the Most Dapper Competition for the men. Winners get a Maker's Mark swag bag. And, if you order the signature cocktail, you'll get a free pewter glass. Those who pick the winning horse will get a free cocktail as well. (Free entry, 3 p.m., 358 W. 58th St., morganshotelgroup.com)

Rock & Reilly

Rock & Reilly's NYC will have a VR
Photo Credit: Rock & Reilly

Rock & Reilly's NYC will have a VR horse race, a photo booth, juleps by Bulleit Bourbon, live bluegrass music and more for Derby Day. If you want to also celebrate Cinco de Mayo, there will be a mariachi band, tacos and a mix-your-own Casamigos margarita bar on its 8,000-square-foot patio. ($65 includes admission, food and drinks, noon to 9 p.m., 218 W. 35th St.)

Brooklyn Derby

Take in Derby day with live music by
Photo Credit: Maker's Mark

Take in Derby day with live music by The Bluegrass Book Club and Dandy Wellington, horse betting, dancing, a bourbon garden, corn toss, hat-making, a Marker's Mark mint wall and more. ($80, 4 to 8 p.m., Greenwood Park, 555 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, brooklynderby.com)

Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge

This party will celebrate both the Derby and
Photo Credit: Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge

This party will celebrate both the Derby and Cinco de Mayo with a tequila mixed drink open bar, food a la carte and more. Egghead, an egg-centric sandwich shop inside the Moxy Times Square Hotel, will be open until 5 a.m., as well. ($30, 1 to 4 a.m., 485 Seventh Ave., nightout.com)

Threes Brewing

When the Kentucky Derby falls on the same
Photo Credit: Threes Brewing

When the Kentucky Derby falls on the same day as Cinco de Mayo, you may as well celebrate them at the same time. That's the approach Threes Brewery in Gowanus is taking with its "Cinco de Derby" party. From noon to 8 p.m., there will be mash-up Mexican-Kentucky cocktails from the bar (think mezcal mint juleps and mint margaritas), and tacos and cemita sandwiches from the Meat Hook butcher in Williamsburg. A DJ will spin eclectic Latin beats from 2 to 6 p.m., when the horse race broadcast begins. (Noon to 8 p.m., 333 Douglass St., threesbrewing.com)

The Club Room at the Lowell Hotel

If you don't have a hat, don't worry
Photo Credit: The Lowell

If you don't have a hat, don't worry -- Suzanne Couture Millinery will be represented at the Club Room. You can sip your mint julep and nibble on southern-style canapés while the race is on. Tickets include passed hors d'oeuvres (including a frozen mint julep) and three actual mint juleps. ($75, 2 to 7 p.m., 28 E. 63rd St., lowellhotel.com)

PHD Rooftop Lounge

Celebrate Cinco de Derby with views of the
Photo Credit: PHD Rooftop Lounge at Dream Downtown

Celebrate Cinco de Derby with views of the skyline, the Cinco de Derby ladies, Carli Roth and Yvonne Najor, stilt walkers, an aerialist, dancers, DJs and more. Grab your tequila from the mixed drink open bar and some bites from Bodega Negra. ($45 to $95, 2 to 6 p.m., 355 W. 16th St., cincodederby18.splashthat.com)

Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime will screen the race in its
Photo Credit: Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime will screen the race in its lounge while you munch on free truffle popcorn and fancy menu offerings like white truffle caviar deviled eggs and prime steak tartare. And of course, there's a mint julep on the menu. Anyone who is the most festively dressed will get a $100 gift card, too. (Free entry, 4 p.m., 123 W. 52nd St., ocean-prime.com)

Parklife

Parklife's 4,000-square-foot space is great for Derby day.
Photo Credit: Deb Klein

Parklife's 4,000-square-foot space is great for Derby day. It's the restaurant and bar's first time hosting but it's ready with three indoor and outdoor screens and two kinds of mint juleps with food and contests for the best dressed, best hat, best seersucker and more. (Free entry but RSVP, 2 to 7 p.m., 636 DeGraw St., Brooklyn, parklifebk.com)

Saluggi's East

Dating app founder and Kentucky native Lori Cheek
Photo Credit: iStock

Dating app founder and Kentucky native Lori Cheek hosts her 16th annual Derby party at the old-school pizzeria Saluggi's. The dress code is "Southern charm," which calls for big hats, seersucker suits, bow ties, pastel colors and even full-on jockey costumes. The get-together will feature $5 drink specials of select beers, wine and well drinks -- including mint juleps. Buy a ticket, and you'll get a $3 discount on bar snacks like buffalo calamari and mini meatballs, too. ($25, 3:30 to 7 p.m., 399 Grand St., cheekdderbyparty.splashthat.com)

Library of Distilled Spirits

This craft cocktail bar with more than 1,200
Photo Credit: Eric Medsker

This craft cocktail bar with more than 1,200 bottles in a 16-by-20-foot, floor-to-ceiling wall display is going to throw a Derby de Mayo party from 2 p.m. until closing with a screening of the race and cocktail specials. Drinks will include a jalapeño rye margarita, Oaxaca old-fashioned and classic mint julep and Paloma. (Free entry but RSVP, 2 p.m., 80 13th St., libraryofdistilledspirits.com)

Refinery Hotel

You'll feel like Eliza Doolittle or Professor Henry
Photo Credit: Refinery Hotel

You'll feel like Eliza Doolittle or Professor Henry Higgins at this lavish event that includes three different experiences -- "the hat box," a rotating pop-up space that will provide an "in-field experience," which is open to the public, a prohibition-style bar inside Winnies Jazz Bar that will act as the winner's circle, and the Refinery Rooftop, which will host the main event called "Millionaires' Row." Dress to impress -- hats and bow ties are "strongly" recommended. Tickets include access to all three spaces, a four-hour open bar with Maker's Mark mint juleps, GH Mumm, Champagne and rose, a raw bar, hors d'oeuvres, Kentucky Derby specialties, live music and DJ set, and a number of pop-up experiences (a photo booth, a pocket square monogram station, a hat decorating station, betting windows and a best dressed contest). ($125, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., 63 W. 38th St., Manhattan, universe.com)

The Peninsula New York

Celebrate
Photo Credit: The Peninsula New York

Celebrate "Derby de Mayo" with a blending of traditions -- sombreros and seersuckers, mint juleps and margaritas. There will be Herradura margaritas and mint juleps from Woodford Reserve, tacos and barbecue, a live band and more. Come dressed for the occasion. ($125, 4 to 8 p.m., Salon de Ning, 700 Fifth Ave., eventbrite.com)

Boulton & Watt

The bar will be transformed into a makeshift
Photo Credit: Oleg March

The bar will be transformed into a makeshift Churchill Downs with artificial turf, inflatable horses and Derby duds. From 3 p.m. on, there will be four specialty cocktails served. After the race, the party will turn into a Cinco de Mayo party with snacks and drink specials. (Free entry, 3 p.m., 5 Ave. A, boultonandwattnyc.com)

Pete's Candy Store

Pete's Candy Store's
Photo Credit: Churchill Downs Historical Society

Pete's Candy Store's "121st annual Derby Day Bash" is back with its millinery parade and contest, featuring handmade hats, a "taco experience" by Nic Westerman for Cinco de Mayo, a discothèque and more. (Free entry, 3 p.m., 709 Lorimer, Brooklyn, petescandystore.com)

Hotel Chantelle

This rooftop party promises a fashionable time with
Photo Credit: Hotel Chantelle

This rooftop party promises a fashionable time with derby styles, DJ sets and mint juleps. Tickets include one free drink. ($20, 4 to 8 p.m., 92 Ludlow St., Manhattan, eventbrite.com

Root & Bone

Get some Southern comfort food and unlimited bourbon
Photo Credit: Root & Bone

Get some Southern comfort food and unlimited bourbon mint juleps, Kentucky mules, rosé and sparkling wine at this derby party. ($60, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., 200 E. Third St., Manhattan, eventbrite.com)

Maison Premiere

Pick from a julep cocktail menu as you
Photo Credit: Maison Premiere

Pick from a julep cocktail menu as you listen to a live jazz band or follow the race via radio broadcast. The menu this year includes grilled oysters and gumbo that will be served outside. Don't forget to don your best hat or bow tie. (RSVP for a table after 8 p.m., otherwise it is first-come, first-served, 298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, maisonpremiere.com)

Saxon + Parole

The restaurant takes its name from two 19th-century
Photo Credit: AvroKO Hospitality Group

The restaurant takes its name from two 19th-century racehorses that competed in the Kentucky Derby, so, naturally, it's hosting a party. Indulge in unlimited derby-style food, including fried chicken, whole roasted pig, cornbread, oysters, seafood towers and roasted pigs, as well as some mint juleps and rosé. Live bluegrass tunes will float through the air as you watch your horse cross the finish line. There will also be a real live horse on the premises. ($135, 3 to 7 p.m., 316 Bowery, Manhattan, facebook.com)

Berg'n

Come thirsty. Berg'n promises a mountain of mint
Photo Credit: Berg'n

Come thirsty. Berg'n promises a mountain of mint juleps. The fun starts at noon and the race will be shown on the beer hall's big screen at 6:30 p.m. (free entry, noon to 11 p.m., 899 Bergen St., Crown Heights, bergn.com)

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