The “most exciting two minutes in sports” is upon us! The 144th running of The Kentucky Derby takes place May 5 at 3:34 p.m. PST. So if Cinco de Mayo isn’t your thing and you prefer bourbon over tequila, head to one of these five spots and place your bets on a damn good time!
Seven Grand Whiskey Bar
Seven Grand Los Angeles is hosting the ultimate DTLA Derby Day bash. Starting at noon, sip on mint julep specials all afternoon long, enjoy live music performed by the talented Po Boy Trio while you wait for the race to begin or learn to bet from the on-site handicapper. Guests can enter Seven Grand’s costume contest at 4 p.m., where the most dapper gentleman and the most impressively-hatted lady will win a prize. The event will also feature a special mint julep making seminar hosted by Makers Mark Ambassador Megan Brier.
515 W. 7th St., #200 Los Angeles, 213calendar.com/events, @sevengrandla
Baltaire celebrates Derby Day with its annual Kentucky Derby Viewing Party, complete with a DJ and live stream of the main event on several large projector screens throughout the restaurant, bar and lounge. From 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., guests are encouraged to let their preppy Southern style shine with wide-brimmed hats, blazers and bowties fit for the Churchill Downs Millionaires Row. Baltaire will host a contest and award gift cards to guests with the best hat and overall outfit. Classic Derby cocktails will be served alongside Executive Chef Travis Strickland’s favorite Southern dishes, including the Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich with toasted brioche with house smoked turkey breast, roasted Campari tomatoes, roasted garlic cream sauce, white cheddar and braised pork belly. The best part? This party gives back. Baltaire has partnered with No Kid Hungry for this event and will sell raffle tickets with proceeds benefiting the charity.
11647 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, Baltaire.com, @baltaire
The Shade Hotel is home of South Bay’s biggest annual Derby Day party. The Redondo Beach hotspot will entertain Derby watchers with two-floors of partying with breathtaking marina views, complete with a live band, DJ, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, contests and prizes. Of course, the menu will be stocked with on-theme cocktails and Derby dishes as well. $22 per person.
655 N Harbor Dr., Redondo Beach, www.shadehotel.com, @shadehotelrb
Santa Anita Park
If you can’t make it Churchill Downs, Santa Anita Park is your next best option. L.A.’s local track is throwing not one but two parties on May 5. The classic Derby Day Party will take place from noon to 5 p.m. in the Park’s chandelier room. The elegant affair will feature Derby-inspired dishes, whiskey tastings, live music and the simulcast of the big race. Tickets are $100 for general admission ($135 for guaranteed seating) and guests are encouraged to dress their best. Ready for a more rowdy afternoon? The Kentucky Derby Trackside Beer Festival, will also be going on from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Each $35 entry includes eight beer tastings, a $5 voucher for a full-sized beer, a souvenir cup, entry to the clubhouse, as well as trackside and grandstand seating for the live race simulcast. There will also be food trucks on-site to satisfy your race day hunger.
285 Huntington Dr., Arcadia, Santaanita.com, @santaanitapark
Will Rogers Polo Club
DerbyDayLA brings the “South” to Southern California with an over-the-top Kentucky Derby experience at Will Rogers Polo Club. The day-long event (noon to 6 p.m.), which also celebrates Opening Day, will feature polo matches, live race coverage, DJ, lawn games, best-dressed contest, gourmet food trucks, celebrity red carpet and high touch brand activations and social media moments. Premium craft cocktails from G.H. Mumm, Absolut Elyx, Avion 44, and Glenlivet will be poured in addition to a champagne sabering station. General admission is $60. VIP cabanas with table service are also available.
1501 Will Rogers State Park Rd., Pacific Palisades, Derbydayla.com, @will_rogers_polo_club
The Beverly Hills Hotel
For the haute horse event, The Beverly Hills Hotel is hosting a special viewing party and spirited brunch at the iconic Polo Lounge! From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., guests will enjoy a three-course themed brunch while watching the beloved race inside the iconic restaurant or outside on its garden patio. Brunch is priced at $115 per person and will include one Kentucky Derby-themed cocktail. Dishes include the Kentucky Hot Brown which is an open-faced turkey sandwich with sautéed mushrooms, parmesan and mornay sauce, Half Each Baby Back Bourbon BBQ Ribs with corn on the Cobb, coleslaw and potato salad and Strips and Grits. Attendees will toast to this year’s contenders by sampling the bar’s signature Mint Juleps and other themed cocktails including the Kentucky Buck (bourbon, honey, lemon, homemade ginger beer) and bourbon lemonade slushies. And be sure to dress for the occasion! Throughout the afternoon guests will be encouraged to enter a “Best Hat” contest and the lucky winner will receive brunch for two in the Polo Lounge.
9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, Dorchestercollection.com, @BevHillsHotel
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