For those who didn’t snag a ticket to the scene-y Kentucky Derby at Louisville’s Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 5, there’s plenty of places to replicate the bourbon-fueled experience in D.C.
The famous two-minute horse race starts at 6:46 p.m., but restaurants are pretty much going all day long with raffle prizes and lots of mint juleps in copper cups that bartenders will likely eye so they don’t canter out the door. FYI: This year, the 144th annual Kentucky Derby coincides with Cinco de Mayo (what could go wrong?), so hydrating is encouraged and surging Uber prices are likely.
Here’s where D.C.’s invited to break out floppy hats, bowties, and seersucker suits for derby day:
901 New York Avenue NW
Chef Jeff Tunks’ Louisiana-themed restaurant is serving $5 themed bites and drinks from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., including hot browns, a derby pie, and mint juleps made with Kentucky’s Bulleit Bourbon. Booze samples will also be up for grabs, and don the best hat or bowtie for the chance to win gift cards.
613 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
The Capitol Hill bar will serve up mint juleps all day, as well as grasshoppers from their frozen cocktail machine and a themed cocktail menu. Hot browns will be on special.
BLT Prime by David Burke
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Beverage director Sam Borzi is stirring up three varieties of juleps, available now through the big day on Saturday, May 5 at the Trump Hotel steakhouse. There’s one with Woodford Reserve bourbon, mint simple syrup, and lavender bitters, while others feature peach ginger and apple pie flavors.
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
The Four Seasons hotel bar will host a DIY mint julep bar from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Bartenders will handle the alcohol part, via mint-infused Blade & Bow bourbon in a julep cup, and guests can then add fruit and garnishes, muddle mix-ins, and dust powdered sugar on top.
City Tap Dupont
1250 Connecticut Avenue NW
In one of the booziest deals of the day, the new restaurant is celebrating its first Kentucky Derby with an open bar (reserve a $35 ticket in advance or in-person) that includes mint juleps, bourbon mules, and frosé drinks, as well as endless bites from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Featured Derby drinks are also available a la carte, as are food specials like pimento and ham biscuits, Bulleit bourbon beer cheese, and bourbon balls for dessert. A $100 gift card goes to the guest wearing the best hat.
301 Water Street SE
From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Southern spot in Navy Yard is rolling out race-themed food and drinks (free to enter). The first 100 guests to order bottomless frozen juleps will get an official 2018 Kentucky Derby julep glass; Due South claims it’s the only area restaurant that’s offering the souvenirs. Fare includes beer cheese crostinis and ham and biscuits. Hat contest winners get Due South gift cards, and there’s also a horse race predictions raffle for prizes like hotel stays, workout classes, and baseball tickets.
3911 Georgia Avenue NW
A viewing party from 3 p.m to 7 p.m., with proceeds benefiting the next day’s Race For Hope 5k, includes food and drink specials and a raffle giveaway for Nationals baseball tickets, gift cards, and sports memorabilia. Sister spot The Blaguard (2003 18th St NW) is partnering with Tito’s Vodka and DC Brau; from Sunday, April 29 to Saturday, May 5, $2 from every DC Brau and drink ordered with Tito’s Vodka sold will be donated to Race for Hope.
2007 18th Street NW
A “Cinco de Derby” rooftop fiesta and viewing party is a mashup of both celebrations via mint juleps and frozen margaritas, derby punches, Mexican beers, Kentucky hot browns and tacos, and a live broadcasting on seven large flat-screen TVs. All three floors will celebrate until 8 p.m., with the roof opening at 3 p.m. and Dram & Grain opening at 4 p.m. Free to enter.
Jug & Table
2446 18th Street NW
The Adams Morgan wine bar is hosting a happy hour watch party from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a quarter off rosé bottles and Distillery Lane Ciderworks Woodberry cider bottles, as well as $7 Kentucky punch cocktails.
1423 P Street NW
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., their private dining room will throw a preppy bash for $35 (including tax and tip) that includes two drink tickets and Kentucky Derby-inspired snacks. Other incentives: Logan Tavern will air the event on a new full-wall projector, and prizes will go to those donning the best hat and those who correctly predict win, place, and show.
Occidental Grill & Seafood
1475 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Bar manager Frankie Jones will offer traditional juleps with I.W. Harper bourbon and another with tequila since the derby day is sharing the party with Cinco de Mayo. Bespoke Personal Dresser will be selling bow ties and pocket squares from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
1350 Eye Street NW
Find unlimited Old Forrester mint juleps, rosé, champagne, and complimentary light bites from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the main bar and on the patio (weather permitting). An award goes to the best derby attire. Tickets are $60 per person.
Ri Ra Georgetown
3125 M Street NW
The bar’s upstairs whiskey parlor will air the action on a big screen starting at 4 p.m. There’s a Woodford Reserve mint julep ($15) as well as a special Kentucky Derby bourbon flight featuring Blantons, The Gifted Horse, and Buffalo Trace. Also expect Southern-inspired dishes like chicken and waffles and shrimp po’boys.