May 5: Big day this year. While Cinco de Mayo -- the yearly celebration of the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces in 1862 -- lands on the same date annually, only occasionally does it also match up with the Kentucky Derby, held the first Saturday in May. The combination of these two events means you have a lot of options in your Saturday bar-going. Here are our top choices for drinking this weekend, whether you're into sombreros or seersucker. (Or both.)
For the Kentucky Derby:
Run for the Roses Kentucky Derby Brunch -- Bourbon Steak The restaurant at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess will celebrate the 138th Run for the Roses from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with live blues by the Chuck Hall Band, games of horseshoes, bourbon tastings, and brunch complete with a complimentary mint julep, commemorative Kentucky Derby glasses, and a special "Seersucker Cocktail" -- made with bourbon, peach and mint -- created for the event. Inside, plasma screens will broadcast the race; outside, thoroughbreds rescued by the Arizona Equine Rescue Organization (AERO) will pose for photos. Entry to the brunch is $69 with a portion of the proceeds benefitting AERO's efforts.
Kentucky Derby Dandy Party -- Old Town Whiskey No better place to indulge in the time-honored Derby Day tradition of bourbon-drinking than at this whiskey joint. The races start at noon, but there'll be plenty to distract from them -- cabaret ladies, $5 mint juleps, prizes for the best-dressed and a "betting" booth to win a one-night stay at the Saguaro.
Woodford Reserve Derby Party -- Talking Stick Resort The "official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby," Woodford Reserve is the actual bourbon used in Mint Juleps at Churchill Downs, so you'll be getting an authentic experience at this party hosted by Woodford Reserve and Chambord at Talking Stick Resort (9800 E. Indian Bend, Scottsdale). Show up in your best Derby attire, as prizes will be awarded for biggest hat, best men's and women's hats, and best derby-inspired clothing. RSVP here. For Cinco De Mayo: Cinco de Mayo at Loco Patron Loco Patron (4228 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale) is probably the only place in town you'll find a live donkey on Cinco de Mayo, which is reason enough to go, but the bar will also feature alive DJ as well as drink and food specials all day.
El Mexcellente! Cinco de Mayo Block Party Mill Ave. neighbors Canteen Modern Tequila (640 S. Mill Ave., Tempe) and Fat Tuesday combine forces for this block party featuring $2 Coronas, $4 margaritas, live DJs, and a cornhole competition featuring a $250 grand prize.
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Cinco de Mayo with Jersey Shore's Ronnie -- School of Rock Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, the meatiest meathead in all the Jersey Shore, will fist-pump and DJ his way through School of Rock on Mill Ave. while 101.5 JAMZ broadcasts the whole train wreck live.
For Both: Cinco de Derby Grandstand Party -- Turf Paradise Combine the excitement of the fastest two minutes in sports with the irresponsibility of Mexican beer and tequila at this shindig hosted at Turf Paradise (1501 W. Bell Road). Admission is just $5 per person, and along with the usual live races, the track will let you watch and wager on the Kentucky Derby, dance to live music, dump your kids at the Fun Park and compete in the annual Derby bonnet contest.