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10 lively spots to celebrate the Kentucky Derby in NYC

Written by
Christina Izzo

May is around the corner, which means it's time for one of the booziest holidays of the year. No, not Cinco de Mayo—we're talking the Kentucky Derby. Break out the huge hats, fascinators and seersucker suits, because a slew of New York restaurants and bars are hosting Derby Day bashes, complete with mint juleps, best-dressed contests and screenings of the fastest two minutes in sports.  

The Bell House
Ten-buck admission to this rollicking Brooklyn bash gets you a Derby Hat contest at 5pm and Best-Dressed Man contest at 5:30, along with $6 Dickel, $10 Bulleit juleps and a live performance by Smokey's Round-Up. 2–8pm. 

Boulton & Watt
Trot down to this East Village gastropub for a sure view of the race where seven TVs will be tuned in. All-day $8 mint juleps will keep the party going. 10am to 6pm.  

Eleven Madison Park
This ticketed event is currently sold out—drats—but a wait list is available for the blowout benefitting the Saratoga War Horse Foundation, which pairs war veterans and horses. The party will include high-end mint juleps, Derby fare courtesy of multi-Michelin-starred chef Daniel Humm and live music courtesy of the Crooners, the Defibulators and the Brain Crowd. 3–7pm. 

Hotel Chantelle
All three floors of the Lower East Side bar and restaurant will be turned over to Derby celebrating on Saturday, May 2nd. Guests will be greeted with a complimentary mini julep upon entry, each floor will have its own DJ and be broadcasting the race, and prizes (including free dinner and bottle service) will be awarded to the most snazzily dressed Derby partier. 4–9pm.  

Humboldt & Jackson
For the truly race-centric, tune into the action on a 120-inch projection screen while snacking on free local cheese and charcuterie at this Williamsburg joint. Live bluegrass music will lead up the race, and prizes will be awarded for best-dressed customer. 5pm. 

Mable’s Smokehouse
Get into the Southern spirit at this Williamsburg barbecue dive with $7 Old Forester mint juleps and a slice of Derby pie, a chocolate-pecan hybrid. They’ll be broadcasting the races all day. 3pm. 

Maison Premiere
The julep connoisseur will find a number to sample at this Williamsburg cocktail bar, which has created a full menu of traditional versions and modern riffs. Listen to the radio broadcast of the races along with live music performances from 2 to 8pm.  11am–4am

Manhattan Cricket Club
This second-floor cocktail club opens its doors to the Aussie-loving public on Derby Day for the unveiling of its on-tap mint julep ($10). A Best Hat contest will award the winner with dinner-for-two at its downstairs sister restaurant Burke and Wills. 2–7pm 

Paulaner Brewpub
This German-style beer hall isn’t skipping any of this Saturday’s sporting events, nestling its Derby screening in between a soccer match and the night's big Mayweather v. Pacquiao fight. Sip on $10 juleps or snack on a half dozen oysters for $16 during the 3pm race, shown on two 110-inch projection screens and two 60-inch TVs. 2–5pm. 

Sweetwater Social
Come for the cocktails—$10 for a frozen julep or a Garland of Roses, $7 Winner’s Circle Punch, or $25 for your choice of bourbon flight—and stay for the special Southern menu and contests for Best Hat and Best Dressed. 3–7pm.

Written by Alyssa Haak

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