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May 2, 2019updated May 13, 2022

The Best Places to Watch the Kentucky Derby

By Emma Reynolds

Dubbed the ‘Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,’ this year’s 145th Kentucky Derby is just around the corner. Whether you’re headed to Churchill Downs in Louisville or watching at home, we’ve rounded up the best places to celebrate the Derby in style. Don’t forget to place your bets!

Derby Day at PUBLIC New York

Ladies, grab your wide-brimmed hats and floral dresses; men, your bow ties. The PUBLIC Hotel in New York is celebrating the derby in style with its 10th annual (and longest-running) Derby Day party in New York. Starting at 2p, the event will have a live jazz band and swing band on the rooftop, DJs, special live performances, lunch by Jean-Georges and mint juleps (the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby) on tap. Purchase tickets in the link below – opt for The Roof ticket to get access to all venues within PUBLIC.

PUBLIC Hotel, 215 Chrystie St, New York, derbyday.nyc 

Rabbit Hole Distillery

If it’s a last-minute getaway to Kentucky you’re after, look no further than Rabbit Hole whiskey’s distillery party in Louisville’s Nulu neighborhood. The 55,000 sq-ft distillery is going to be completely taken over with Derby-themed art installations, entertainment and craft cocktails, including the $1,100 Rabbit Hole’s “Looking Glass” cocktail. Created by bar-consulting firm mixologists, Proprietors LLC (famous for Death & Co bar in New York City) the cocktail is made using a 19th-century syphon that releases a plume of fog as the ingredients are added. Ingredients include: Rabbit Hole Straight Bourbon Whiskey, D’Aincourt Cognac Extra, Bowmore 1989 Silver Seal 21-Year-Old Scotch whisky and Belgian chocolate bitters. It has a miniature ice sculpture and hand-painted gold leaf.

Rabbit Hole Distillery, 711 E Jefferson St, Louisville, Kentucky, rabbitholedistillery.com/2019-derby-party

Brooklyn Derby

It’s not that exclusive but it sure is fun. If you feel like venturing to Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Derby hosted at Greenwood Park initially was an intimate gathering that soon escalated into a 600-plus-person party. Hosted at Brooklyn’s Greenwood Park (a beer garden and restaurant), the game is shown on a massive TV while everyone sips on mint juleps, whiskey or bourbon and enjoys fun games and raffles. Place your bets, clink glasses and don’t forget to wear your Southern attire (everyone here is dressed to the nines). Enjoy playing bocce ball with a mint julep in hand, of course.

Greenwood Park, 10 Jay Street, Brooklyn, brooklynderby.com

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Refinery Rooftop

Back for another year, Refinery Rooftop, Winnie’s Jazz Bar and Refinery Hotel are hosting their annual Kentucky Derby party for guests. The party is spread over three venues with three parties, each filled with champagne, live music (like jazz and DJs) and small bites. The party is loud, fun and every person is decked out in colorful wear in celebration of the races. The best-dressed person will win a trip to next year’s Kentucky Derby. While there, don’t forget to check out the hidden speakeasy. VIP tickets are available by emailing schaifetz@ingoodcompany.com

Refinery Hotel, 63 W 38th St, New York, refineryhotelnewyork.com

Pier A

Few people do the Kentucky Derby in New York better than Pier A. Located in the city’s FiDi neighborhood, the second floor of this enormous venue will be transformed into Churchill Downs. You have access to Millionaire’s Bar, Winner’s Circle, The Japanese Room, Tyrconnell Irish Room in addition to sipping on mint juleps, whiskey and eating plenty of Southern-style cuisine. Be sure to dress up in your Southern best. While there, enjoy views of the Hudson River and enter a raffle.

Pier A, 22 Battery Place, New York, piera.com/kentucky-derby-day-fidi-2019

Missed it this year? To book tickets for the Kentucky Derby 2020, visit derbyexperiences.com and kentuckyderby.com

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