- Last Updated: 12:21 AM, May 5, 2012
- Posted: 9:47 PM, May 4, 2012
New Yorkers love a themed party, and what better occasion to dress up than for the Southern sophistication of today’s Kentucky Derby? You’ll want to race to these winning venues to see the greatest two minutes in sports.
University of Kentucky Alumni Club’s Derby Party at Jack Demsey’s, 3 p.m.; 36 W. 33rd St.; 212-629-9899, jackdemseys.com; free
Party with Kentucky transplants at this public event. “We get people from Kentucky, as well as friends from New York who want to have that experience,” says alumni association vice president Erin Burkett.
The bluegrass-themed fare includes the Kentucky hot brown ($14), an open-faced turkey sandwich with tomato, bacon and Mornay sauce. Wash it down with a mint julep ($8) and enter the hat contest.
Mint Hats and Big Drinks at Pour George, 3 p.m.; 35 W. Eighth St.; 212-253-2999, pourgeorge.com; free
Horse around at this Greenwich Village sports bar, where $9 mint juleps will flow as the race airs on 10 HD-TVs. A plethora of prizes will be handed out, including to the best-dressed gentleman, lady and couple, and for the best facial hair. Snack on Southern fare such as rolled oysters ($10), a fried creation shucked in cornmeal batter and rolled in cracker crumbs. Then, sweeten the evening with whiskey bread pudding with mascarpone sauce ($8).
Fourth Annual mad46 Kentucky Derby Party, 4 p.m. at 45 E. 46th St.; 212-661-9600, mad46.com; free Dress to impress if you’re heading to this rooftop lounge atop the Roosevelt Hotel. A “Millionaire’s Row” red carpet will roll onto 46th Street, and prizes go to best-dressed, most polished gentleman, most Derby chic and best hats. “It has all the ingredients of a perfect party in taking something that has the Southern charm and colorful fashion and mixing it with New York cosmopolitan,” says Kaitlin McCaffrey, mad46 event planner.
Sip an Oaks Lily ($13) — vodka, sweet-and-sour mix, cranberry juice, triple sec — while watching the race on one of three screens.
Pete’s Candy Store, 3 p.m.; 709 Lorimer St., Williamsburg; 718-302-3770, petescandystore.com; free
No hat? Fashion one in the Ladies Millinery Corner — creations will be judged for a $25 bar-tab prize. The Bluegrass Blue-Plate Special ($12) — bourbon-glazed baby back ribs, potato salad, buttermilk cornbread and Derby pie — will keep tummies full.
The Bell House, 1 p.m.; 149 Seventh St., Gowanus; 718-643-6510, thebellhouseny.com; $10
Louisville native Michael Boyd started this party in his Brooklyn apartment 15 years ago before moving it to the Bell House (“Southern culture meets Brooklyn hip,” he says), where guests can kick off the race with $6 juleps, buy hats from Brooklyn milliner La China Loca and square-dance with David Harvey and the NYC Barn Dance. Pre-race, New York-based pop group the Secret History will sing “My Old Kentucky Home.”
Saloon Kentucky Derby Day, 3 p.m.; 1584 York Ave.; 212-570-5454, saloonnyc.com; free
Celebrate the Derby by day and Cinco de Mayo by night at this Upper East Side saloon, where guests are encouraged to dress up for both celebrations.Specials include $6 mint juleps.
Jbird Cocktails, 5 p.m.; 339 E. 75th St.; 212-288-8033, jbirdny.com; free
Learn to make mint juleps at a 5 p.m. class; then, after you cover the basics, savor your newfound knowledge with a Prescription Julep ($12), a potent concoction of rye, cognac, Demerara syrup, market mint and Jamaican rum.