Grab a porch, pour yourself a mint julep, and put on your finest hat. Derby Day is coming on May 5, and you are going to want to look your best. But lest you find yourself all dressed up with no place to go, gallop to these 10 Austin hangouts for some racy fun.
Blue Owl Brewing
The Triple Crown race itself may only last a couple of minutes, but you can make a day of it at this East Austin brewery. Purchase a tasting of Blue Owl’s innovative sour beers while wearing an outlandish hat, and score a free bottle of their Saison Puede. Vote for your favorite sour and you’ll be on track to win a deluxe gift package.
Boiler Nine Bar + Grill
This Seaholm eatery goes the extra mile with $5 Kentucky mint juleps and frozen Pimm’s Cups on the Deck Nine Observatory Bar. If you are riled up after the race, stay for the “Durty” Derby party featuring food specials and yet another julep — this time made with rosé, fresh strawberries, and mint. While there will be no video feeds of the race, you can listen to it while doing some serious people watching.
The North Loop hangout is introducing a new kind of daily double for the race. On May 5, enjoy two kinds of juleps — a traditional bourbon sipper or the Ladera, made with tequila as a nod to Cinco de Mayo. If you are feeling peckish, order a Kentucky Hot Brown, a decadent open-faced sandwich inspired by one of Louisville’s most famous hotels.
Four Seasons Hotel
Since 2010, guests have been flocking to this chic downtown hotel for one of Austin’s most popular Derby Day parties. The Four Seasons is decked out in themed decor while live music and mint juleps keep everyone in high spirits. Forget your hat at home? There’s a pop-up shop where you can buy a stunning chapeau. Better yet, every dime of the $25 cover goes to Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas.
Wear your finest seersucker to the Fairmont Austin’s lobby bar where all TVs will be tuned in for the Run for the Roses. If horse racing isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the Elijah Craig mint juleps and a set from acclaimed jazz vocalist and guitarist Woody Russel.
Looking for the essential Instagram shot for Derby Day? Order one of Geraldine’s frozen juleps served in a trophy cup (if you position your phone just right, you can even catch one of the horse floaties in the pool). For nibbles, enjoy chef Stephen Bonin’s take on the Hot Brown while listening to special live performances.
This east side bar is teaming up with Yer Mama ‘n Dems for a Southern-fried menu featuring crawfish mac ’n’ cheese, grits, grilled shrimp and watermelon, and crispy chicken with grilled pickled peaches. There will be bourbon libations and, of course, margaritas.
The neighborhood dive is taking over the J&J Spirits parking lot for a proper party featuring music from DJ Dan Gentile and Kentucky bluegrass band The Frauleins. Maker’s Mark will be on hand to pour the drinks and “Love Whiskey” ticket holders can even nab a souvenir can dipped in their signature wax. If you are in the mood to gamble, enter the raffle for a custom Maker’s gift basket.
The Roosevelt Room
Spend a few moments enjoying the most exciting two minutes in sports, then continue the evening with three exciting varieties of juleps. From 5-7 pm, the bar will be having a happy hour with $5 drinks. (That means you can pony up for a few more plastic doodads to glue to your bowler.)
Seven Grand & Las Perlas
No one is as well-equipped to celebrate the Cinco de Derby concurrence than these neighboring sister bars. Whiskey hot spot Seven Grand takes care of the Derby part with a best-dressed contest and a free Maker’s Mark glass for the first 100 guests ordering a Maker’s mint julep. Las Perlas goes all in for Cinco de Mayo with music by Ex Romantica and specials on cocktails and beers. The two parties combine on the shared patio with bites from Asador and a julep versus margarita contest between 6-7 pm.