The "Run for the Roses" is considered horse racing's most prestigious event. But just because it's in Louisville doesn't mean we can't celebrate here in Chicago. A number of local restaurants, bars and race tracks will be offering Kentucky Derby specials throughout the weekend (events are on Saturday, May 1, unless otherwise noted).
Division Ale House
The Ale House will screen the Run for the Roses on eight 50-inch flat-screen TVs and offer $5 Mint Juleps and a $10.50 whiskey-glazed corned beef dinner.
Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen
Watch the race at this Crystal Lake bar and enjoy 35-cent wings and $7 Maker's Mark Mint Juleps. And be sure to wear your festive hat, as the best one will score a $25 gift card.
Dunlays on Clark
The Lincoln Park neighborhood spot peps up race day with $5 Maker's Mark Mint Juleps, $4 shots of Jack Daniels and a Kentucky-inspired menu including Burgood stew and a hot brown (choose any three items for $25).
There'll be tons of big-screen, hi-def TVs showing the race at this Palatine bar, which offers $5 Mint Juleps and an $8.95 Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner.
Faith & Whiskey
The Lincoln Park bar will open early for its "Talk Derby To Me" party and will show all of the day's races on its four flatscreens with sound. Drink specials include $5 Woodford Reserve shots, $6 Woodford Reserve Mint Juleps, $7 "Derby Downer" specialty cocktails (Woodford Reserve, sparkling wine, vanilla syrup, vanilla bean garnish). F&W will also give away free 15-person private parties to both the best female derby hat and the best male derby suit after the races.
Fizz Bar & Grill
Saturday, May 1 The sixth annual Kentucky Derby party at this Lakeview bar will include a complimentary buffet featuring dishes like Burgoo stew, Benedictine sandwiches and bourbon brownies, mint juleps (served in commemorative Churchill Downs glasses for $10 each; refills $5) and more. There will be prizes for the best women's hat and best men's seersucker suit.
Enjoy $5 mint juleps featured all day. For the ladies: Barleycorn hosts a fancy hat contest post-race (at approximately 5:30 p.m.) with a $200 grand prize and gift certificates for other finalists.
11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Whether you like to drink, eat or gamble, this Lincoln Park bar has you covered. All-day drink deals including $4 22-ounce drafts of Bud Light, $4 Mint Juleps, a $3 mimosa bar and a $4 bloody mary bar - or you can spring for the $35 food and drink package from 1 p.m. to the end of the race, which includes Bud Light, Mint Juleps, wine, mimosa and bloody mary bars plus passed hors d'oeuvres. There will also be 50/50 horse bets, with half of the pot going to the Jennifer S. Fallick cancer support center.
Lobby Lounge (ShowPlace Icon Theatre)
Woodford Reserve sponsors a Derby watch party with raffles, giveaways and drink specials like $12 Mint Juleps.
Enjoy $5 Maker's Mint Juleps as you cheer on the horses at this Gold Coast bar. Each guest will get a race card, and those with the winning horse will receive a $25 gift certificate to Luxbar (and even the losers will get $5 certificates). The prize for best Derby hat: a $250 cocktail card.
Mac's American Pub
All-day Derby specials include $5 Maker's Mark mint juleps, Jack Daniel’s BBQ-glazed chicken wings ($5) and the Derby burger: A half-pound stock yards angus burger topped with grilled onions, cheddar cheese and Jim Beam BBQ sauce, served with hand-cut fries ($5).
Celebrate Derby Day for a good cause at The Pony's fundraiser event, benefiting Equestrian Connection. Guests can enter to win a free trip to the stables, while enjoying $5 Mint Juleps and Jim Beam cocktails and a $10 Southern-style buffet featuring fried chicken, biscuits and more. Guests are encouraged to dress in classic Southern attire.
Here's another appropriate spot to do your celebrating - and it'll be easy with $7 bourbon cocktails like classic Mint Juleps, the Lily (lemonade with bourbon and cranberry juice), the Lazy Boy (bourbon, bitters and soda) and Peach Tea (peach schnapps, iced tea and bourbon). Chef Cary Taylor will also offer the traditional Hot Brown, an open-faced sandwich with turkey, bacon and avocado covered in Mornay sauce for $12.
Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1, 10 a.m.-2 a.m.; $5 admission on Saturday
Guests can place their wagers starting on Friday and join Stretch Run for a pre-Derby Day celebration. Guests can indulge in $6 mint juleps and $5 20-ounce drafts of Miller Lite and Coors Light.
O'Toole's will serve up Sweet Tea Vodka cocktails for $5.50 and Maker's Mark Mint Juleps for $6. The pub invites patrons to don a Derby hat in honor of the occasion and take part in a Derby pool for a chance to win prizes. Stick around for the Shane Mosley vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing match afterward ($20 cover) and enjoy $15 Corona buckets. The pub's will also offer $3 pints of Miller Lite, Miller High Life and Coors Light all day.
You can really party hard at the Dirty Derby party, which includes giveaways (like sex toys), drink specials ($15 shot-skis) and a dirty joke contest.
2-6 p.m.; $80 in advance, $100 at the door
Party with a live band, open bar and a lunch buffet on the outdoor patio at this Lincoln Park bar, and feel good while doing it: all proceeds from this party go to Chicago Children's Charities.