Time to get your hats, dresses and seersucker suits out of the closet, the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby is this Saturday, May 3. The Kentucky Derby is a Grade-1 stakes race for 23 three-year-old Thoroughbreds, held annually at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. While the race itself only lasts about two minutes, the party before and after is legendary.
Women compete to see who can wear the most elaborate hats. Mint juleps are sipped as bets are placed. Champagne is popped when a winner crosses the finish line.
Now, you don’t have to go to Kentucky to participate in all the fun. Denver has more than its share of events taking place. So where should you go to pre-game, watch the race, and celebrate a win? Here is a list of some Derby happenings around town:
Denver Derby Party, Denver Performing Arts Complex (950 13th Street)
The Denver Derby Party has grown to become one of the most unique and highly anticipated fundraising events in the city. I’ve heard rumors that this party is the largest Kentucky Derby party outside of Kentucky. Hosted by the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the race and live entertainment will be displayed on more than 25 different HDTVs located throughout the venue. Tickets for this party will sell out, GA tickets are $130. All tickets include unlimited beer, wine, champagne and mint juleps with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting the Sean “Ranch” Lough Memorial Scholarship.
If you want to bet on the horses, head to The Celtic on Friday, May 2 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. The Denver Derby Party has teamed up with this no limit, off-track betting establishment. Betting and racing experts will be on hand.
Second Home Kitchen + Bar (150 Clayton Lane)
Start your Derby Day at Second Home Kitchen + Bar at the official Cherry Creek Pre-Derby Brunch. Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. receive a free bellini with brunch if you are wearing your Derby best. 15 percent of all food sales will be donated to the Sean “Ranch” Lough Memorial Scholarship.
Marlowe’s (501 16th Street Mall)
Denver’s historic salon and chophouse is the location of the official Denver Derby brunch. From 9 a.m. to noon enjoy a free Mimosa or Bloody Mary with purchase of an entrée when you show your tickets to the Derby Party.
Derby Day at Edge (1111 14th Street)
From 11 a.m. until last call, Derby Day at Edge will make sure you have a Triple Crown experience. Pre-Derby brunch starts at 11 a.m. For $32 you get a three course brunch and $15 gets you bottomless mimosas and Grey Goose Bloody Marys.
Watch the race at the EDGE bar and enjoy the post-race party starting at 4:35. This party is sponsored by Grey Goose. Drink specials all night long. Half-off select appetizers and music by DJ Manos.
If you want to eat a full meal post-race enjoy dinner at EDGE Restaurant. Enjoy an authentic Southern dinner in the cool and relaxing EDGE Restaurant. The three-course dinner is $60 with seating starting at 5 p.m.
New Belgium Brewing Take Over at The Source (3350 Brighton Blvd)
From May 1-3, New Belgium will be taking over The Source daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. New Belgium will feature a miniature tasting room complete with New Belgium classics, along with the brewery’s more esoteric Lips of Faith series, for sampling. On Saturday, May 3, The Source will show the Kentucky Derby races on a giant screen. Guests are invited to dress the part and spend their Saturday enjoying local food artisans and retailers, along with New Belgium beer. One hundred percent of proceeds from New Belgium’s Take Over at The Source will benefit the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, a nonprofit that advances sustainability through collaboration among other nonprofits, businesses, government and education.
The Corner Office (1401 Curtis Street)
The Corner Office will offer $6 cocktails such as the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep punch, Bloody Marys, Grey Goose La Poire, and the Derby Special: The Cocky Jockey (Grey Goose, Cedilla Acai Berry Liquor lime and Prosecco). They will also be serving $3 Hot Browns: house roasted turkey breast, smoked cheddar, applewood bacon, and gravy on a pretzel bun. Commemorate the day (or maybe just the hat?) with a photo booth. TV screens will be set up in the bar and lounge area.
Wazee Supper Club (1600 15th Street)
This downtown spot will show the race and offer an untraditional mint julep with bourbon, mint, sugar and a splash of ginger beer served in a copper mug, à la Moscow mule style for $6.
Central Bistro and Bar (1691 Central Street)
Join the crew at Central Bistro with your race day caps to enjoy drink specials and derby inspired food. The party starts at 2 p.m. and the race will be shown in the bar and on a big screen projector in the dining room. Derby drinks include Grey Goose Cocktails and Woodford Reserve Juleps for $7.
Session Kitchen (1518 South Pearl)
Watch the Kentucky Derby at Session Kitchen on Old South Pearl St. and enjoy session-style Southern snacks like frog legs with parsley sauce, Kentucky hot brown buns, and chocolate walnut bourbon cookies. Event begins at 2 p.m. and the race will be shown upstairs with prizes going for best Derby attire. $30 includes food and Southern cocktails are available à la carte.
The Lobby (2191 Arapahoe Street)
Starting at 9 a.m. head to The Lobby for brunch and goldfish races. Prizes for best dressed and best hat. Enjoy lawn games and more before the official race in the afternoon.