Here Are the 20 Best Derby De Mayo Events in NYC

Kentucky Hot Browns are an essential part of the Derby experience
Kentucky Hot Browns are an essential part of the Derby experience
Phil Denton via Flickr

Break out the festive hats, it's about time to bet on some horses and hit a fiesta. And a slew of venues all over the city are ready to accommodate your antics, whether you're planning on donning a sombrero or a floppy bonnet, whether you'll be drinking margaritas or mint juleps.

Here are the 10 best ways to celebrate Kentucky Derby Day, and the 10 best ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. That's a total of 20 parties you can hit this weekend...and into next week.

ICE, 50 West 23rd Street, Friday, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Kick off your Derby weekend tonight at the Institute for Culinary Education when you attend Bourbon Derby Dinner, an installation of the school's supper club. ICE chefs will put together a five-course bourbon-inspired tasting menu with dishes like smoked consommé with sweetbreads, bourbon, and foie gras foam; butterfish, lobster, bourbon, and vanilla sabayon; and black cherry and bourbon clafoutis with pistachio ice cream. Each course comes with a paired bourbon cocktail. Derby attire is encouraged.

Wythe Cinema, 80 Wythe Avenue, Saturday, 5:30 p.m. Catch the Derby on the big screen while you tuck into Southern bites from Reynard chef Sean Rembold, who happens to be a Louisville native. He's serving pimento cheese sandwiches, cucumber benedictine, mini hot browns, pulled pork sliders, and bourbon chocolate pecan pie. After the race, catch a special screening of "Breadcrumb Trail," a feature length documentary about '90s underground band Slint. A Q&A with founding band members follows. Tickets are $18.

Sweetwater Social, 643 Broadway, 212-253-7467, Saturday, 2 to 7 p.m. Drop into this bar for a derby viewing party, where you'll find Sweetwater bartenders pouring Derby-themed drinks like bourbon flights, Derby Day punch, and mint juleps. Wear your best hat and fancy dress: There's a best hat and best dressed contest, and prizes for picking the winning horses. And what's the Kentucky Derby without spectacular attire, especially hats? Contests for best

Harding's, 32 East 21st Street, 212-600-2105, Saturday, 3 to 7 p.m. This Flatiron parlor of Americana will screen the race and host a variety of festivities surrounding the main event. Check out the photo both, specials on mint juleps and peach old fashioneds, and a collection of southern bites like fried green tomatoes, hot browns, and fried chicken. And don't miss the large collection of Kentucky bourbon. Festive dress is recommended, and reservations are required.

The Third Man, 116 Avenue C, Saturday, 3 p.m. This Alphabet City lounge will open early to host a screening of the Derby, during which it'll offer specials on juleps. Pair your drink to Austrian-inspired small plates like a charcuterie platter with pork belly sauerkraut and grilled cheese made with aged Gruyere and served with pickled vegetables.

Distilled, 211 West Broadway, 212-601-9514, Saturday, 4 to 7 p.m. (Drink specials 3 to 8 p.m.) Distilled will broadcast Derby coverage from 4 to 7 p.m., but it'll get the party started early -- and keep it running late -- with a slew of Kentucky Derby drink specials, including the Derby shrub, Brown Derby, and mint julep. Derby attire is strongly encouraged.

Floyd Beer Cheese, 131 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, Saturday, 1 p.m. Floyd's Derby party is a tradition nine years in the making, and it returns this year with a screening of all the festivities, starting with the early 1 p.m. races. Score $6 juleps and free Kentucky beer cheese, and wear your best hat -- you could take home a $100 prize.

Union Hall, 702 Union Street, Brooklyn, Saturday, 1 p.m. This bar will also kick off festivities with the early races, and it'll screen the Derby all day long on its main floor big screen. Sip $6 juleps, play a round of cornhole, and don't forget your hat -- if yours is best, you'll win a hundred bucks. And don't worry about missing out on any horse race action -- a live bugler will call to post.

Maison Premiere, 298 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-335-0446, Saturday, 2 to 8 p.m. This Williamsburg oyster bar and absinthe house will celebrate the race with live music, Derby dish specials from the kitchen, and a special julep. You might consider getting here early: Entrance is free, and seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Maysville, 17 West 26th Street, 646-490-8240, Saturday, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Book your Derby table at this whiskey-fueled Southern food haunt, where the $75 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) price gets you snacks like grits, deviled eggs, pulled pork sandwiches, spare ribs, and bread pudding plus classic mint juleps. Make reservations by calling the restaurant directly, or you can walk into the bar area for drinks and snacks.

See Cinco de Mayo festivities on the next page.

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