This Saturday, May 6, marks the 143rd Kentucky Derby – a.k.a. the “most exciting two minutes in sports.” But as you’re probably aware, the celebration has gone beyond Louisville and what’s happening on the dirt track at Churchill Downs.
In Phoenix, the Run for the Roses is about big-hat contests, matching your pocket squares to your bowties, getting toasted on mint juleps, and, if there’s time, reading Hunter S. Thompson’s "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved."
Now that you’re in the right mindset, here are 11 places where you can find Kentucky Derby parties happening throughout the Valley this Saturday.
Bevvy Food + Drink
Celebrate the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Bevvy in Scottsdale starting at 8 a.m. Bevvy is offering complimentary entry for ladies who arrive dressed up, and reservations can be made at 602-777-1757. See the Bevvy Food + Drink website for details.
Blue Martini Lounge
The people at Blue Martini want you to “Talk Derby to Me” during the Hats, Horses & Happy Hour Derby Party, which starts at 1 p.m. and goes till 2 a.m. The Derby Happy Hour is from 1 to 7 p.m., meaning there will be cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, well-dressed patrons, dancing, live entertainment, and lots of big hats – so there will, of course, be a Best Derby Hat Contest. VIP table reservations can be made at 480-638-2583. See the Blue Martini Lounge website for more.
Bourbon Jacks Bar & Grill
For a gathering of big hats in Chandler, try downtown’s Bourbon Jacks Bar & Grill. The Kentucky Derby Party here goes from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and is putting out an APB for the East Valley’s best dressed. Drink specials include mint juleps, Kentucky Mules, and some Deep Eddy vodka. Call 480-664-1738 or see the Facebook event for more details.
Brick & Barley, A Neighborhood Bar
Downtown Tempe’s Brick & Barley is hosting a Kentucky Derby B&B Style event, meaning the Derby will be showing on all projection screens and TVs while attendees can partake in Kentucky-themed games, food, drinks, and contests. Enjoy bourbon balls and classic mint juleps, and yes, hats are encouraged. Call 480-290-5272 or see the Facebook event for more details.
Casablanca Rooftop Lounge
Enjoy Derby Day with panoramic views of Scottsdale this weekend. There’s a Derby Watching Party happening at the Casablanca Rooftop Lounge from 2 to 5 p.m. in Scottsdale. It’s also a fundraiser to benefit the local Therapeutic Harp Foundation. Call 480-290-5272 or see the Facebook event for more details.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is hosting a lawn party from 1 to 4:30 p.m. for the Derby. Anticipate mint juleps and Bulleit bourbon tastings, Southern fare during brunch, live blues music, and plenty of fun attire. Tickets for the Bourbon Steak’s Kentucky Derby Brunch are $109 per person, which include a commemorative Kentucky Derby 2017 glass and three cocktails, and can be purchased at the door or by calling 480-585-2694. Visit the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess website for more details.
Lustre Rooftop Bar
Sounds like the Hats + Horses Kentucky Derby Pool Party will present the best of both worlds this Saturday. Enjoy the usual food and drink specials while dressed in your “finest derby-inspired hats and bathing suits.” The party starts at 1 p.m. VIP cabana and couch packages are available. See the Lustre Rooftop Bar website or call 480-478-1765 for more details.
Second Story Liquor Bar
If you spend race day at Second Story Liquor Bar in Old Town Scottsdale, you can expect a Derby-inspired menu, specialty drinks like mint juleps and Pendennis Club cocktails, and contests for best hat and best outfit. The party runs from noon till the race ends, and tickets range from $50 for general admission or $100 for the VIP experience. Call 480-945-5555, text 602-430-8884, or see the Second Story Liquor Bar website for more information.
Central Phoenix’s Southern Rail is encouraging you to “Derby like a local” during the Kentucky Derby Party from 1 to 5 p.m. The spot will be bringing in extra TVs for the race, will have mint juleps at the ready, and will be giving out prizes for best women's hat, best men's hat, and the overall best dressed. Admission is free. For more information, call 602-200-0085 or see the Facebook event.
The Nest Sports Grill
They take Derby Day pretty seriously at The Nest in Glendale. The Kentucky Derby 2017 event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and includes breakfast till 1 p.m. Plus there's the Best Derby Bonnet contest for women, and plenty of Maker's Mark mint juleps in commemorative glasses. Admission is free. Call 623-594-0900 or see the Facebook event for more details.
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The second annual Stella Artois Derby DayClub is known for offering live racing and betting on Derby Day, and also offers a VIP trackside experience to partygoers who can cool out inside polo-style tents next to the rails. The event features the Hefeweizen & Craft Beer Garden with DJs, dancing, eight big screens, and private betting terminals. Gates open at 10:30 a.m., and tickets start at $25. Tickets for the Sanderson Lincoln Black Label VIP Lounge start at $100. See the Turf Paradise website or call 602-942-1101 for more information.