The Kentucky Derby—known as "the most exciting two minutes in sports"—is on Saturday. To celebrate, bars and restaurants are offering drink and food specials for fans. Here's where to find them—plus how to make a perfect mint julep at home.
Start pregaming for the big race tonight—Wednesday, April 28—at the Big Hunt's Kentucky Derby Warm-Up Party from 8 PM to midnight. The $50-a-person event includes two bourbon cocktails; beer samples and pints; and a BBQ dinner of pulled-pork sandwiches, collard greens, cheese grits, and bacon-and-bourbon cornbread. For dessert, you can have a slice of Derby Pie paired with a glass of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Get tickets at the bar today starting at 4 PM. The seating is capped at 50 people, so get there early to scoop up the last few spots.
Dust off your Sunday best for the Round Robin Bar's annual Bonnets and Bow-Ties Kentucky Derby Party on Saturday. Co-hosted with Maker's Mark Distillery, the event at the Willard InterContinental bar includes a Southern-style buffet featuring baked ham, coleslaw, potato salad, a cheese display, and Derby pies. You'll also get two of mixologist Jim Hewes's mint juleps made with—what else?—Maker's Mark bourbon to sip while you watch the race. Patrons who don their best bow tie or bonnet will be entered into a contest for a chance to win a mysterious "grand prize." The event runs from 4 to 7 PM and costs $75 a person. Call 202-637-7305 to make reservations.
Celebrate the Kentucky Derby at Acadiana’s bar from 5 to 7 on Saturday with $5 mint juleps and $5 Derby-inspired dishes. While watching the race, snack on Benedictine sandwiches, Burgoo stew, Kentucky hot browns, barbecue lamb ribs, and fried apple/bourbon pies.
If you're up for a bit of a drive, head to Trummer's on Main in Clifton, Virginia, where race-day festivities will start at 5 PM. Sip $5 mint juleps from traditional silver cups while noshing nibbles from the bar. Just be sure to save room for dessert: Pastry chef Chris Ford will be whipping up mint julep sundaes, made with bourbon-devil's-food cake and housemade mint ice cream.
Fairfax cupcakery Cupcakes Actually is getting into the Derby spirit with vanilla, red velvet, and chocolate fudge cupcakes decorated with racing colors and jockey numbers. Pick up a dozen for an at-home watch party. Call 571-522-6315 to order.
The Jockey Club at the Fairfax Hotel is offering a two-for-one deal on mint juleps and special prices on premium bourbons. The deals are available all day on Saturday and, of course, the race will be shown on TVs in the lounge.
Know of an event we missed? Tell us in the comments!