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Derby Day parties in Chicago

Celebrate the most exciting two minutes in sports at Kentucky Derby Day parties with mint juleps, hot browns and more
Matt Reeves State and Lake is serving up Hot Browns at its Derby Day party.
By Erica Garber |

On May 2, the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby will air live from Louisville's Churchill Downs. If you can't take a weekend getaway to Louisville, don't worry—Chicago restaurants and bars are jumping in the race by hosting Derby Day parties. Dust off your biggest hat and don your best seersucker suit and head to these barbecue restaurants, bars and other spots for mint juleps, pig roasts and more.

Derby Day parties
Photograph: Dave Rentauskas
Restaurants, Barbecue

Chicago q

icon-location-pin Rush & Division

Chicago q is featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet with bacon cheddar hush puppies, smoked deviled eggs, pulled pork sliders and more. It'll also have beer and special cocktails, like bourbon punch. Tickets are $60 and a portion of proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

Photograph: Jason Little
Restaurants, Contemporary American


icon-location-pin River West/West Town

Frontier will have $7 Woodford Reserve mint juleps, $6 blackberry punch, $5 Apex Predator drafts and a $12 fried chicken plate. Watch the race in the beer garden.

Restaurants, Contemporary American

Howells & Hood

icon-location-pin Streeterville

From 2–6pm, Howells & Hood will be hosting a Kentucky Derby party to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. A Southern-inspired buffet will be available with dishes like blackstrap ham, hush puppies, bourbon-glazed baby back ribs, Derby pie and more. Mint julep snow cones will also be available.

 I|O Urban Roofscape's outdoor lounge at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago
Courtesy of I|O Urban Roofscape
Restaurants, Contemporary American

IO Urban Roofscape

icon-location-pin River North

The party goes from noon–8pm at IO, which is hosting a Bourbon 101 tasting class at 1, 2, 3 and 4pm. No Kentucky Derby party is complete without hats, so wear your own or pick one up at the party—there are prizes for best hat, among other categories.

Photograph: Martha Williams
Bars, Lounges

The J. Parker

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park

The J. Parker is hosting a Derby Day bash with mint juleps, bites and a DJ. Derby attire is encouraged.

Restaurants, Barbecue

Lillie's Q

icon-location-pin Wicker Park

Lillie's Q is offering a $35 prix-fixe menu which features dishes like Western Kentucky mutton barbecue. Drinks, like the mint julep and Lillie's julep, will also be available. 

Bars, Sports Bars


icon-location-pin Bucktown

Besides its best Derby hat contest, Lottie's Pub will have $5 mint juleps and $15 bourbon flights.

Photograph: Martha Williams
Bars, Sports Bars

Mac's American Pub

icon-location-pin East Village

Kick off Derby Day with $6 Marker's Mark mint juleps and $5 Buffalo Trace shots.
Photograph: Taylor Castle
Bars, Sports Bars

Old Town Social

icon-location-pin Old Town

The festivities start with live music at 11am, and include hot brown sandwiches and Woodford Reserve mint juleps. Wear your best Derby attire—there are cash prizes for best dressed.

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