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The Deluxe Guide to Derby Day in Denver

Whether you've got a horse in the race, or not, there's a helping of southern hospitality coming your way

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If you can't gallop off to Louisville's Churchill Downs next week, you should still plan on donning your biggest, boldest hat, putting on some pearls and seersucker, because the jewel of  Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 6.

Whether you've got a favorite horse you're hoping will win, this celebration is just as much (if not more) about the party, outfits, food and booze than it is about the two-minutes contest. So plan on a day chock full of mint juleps, country ham biscuits, sweet tea, Kentucky hot browns, beer cheese and fried chicken, no matter the outcome.

Denver is teeming with venues that take the Derby very seriously, exemplifying Kentucky cuisine and all the fixings. Take your pick of creative cocktails, Southern specials and more at this list of bars, restaurants and venues getting into the spirit of the jewel of the horse racing's Triple Crown. From cocktail specials to costume contests, this is a day provides a welcome excuse to drink bourbon and be fancy.

Disclosure: The editor is married to one of the developers behind The Source, the development in which the RiNo Yacht Club resides.

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Ace Eat Serve

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Uptown's ping-pong hall meets Asian fusion hot spot has a special drink on the menu for the race they're calling the Paper Plane, made with Turkey Bourbon 81, taverna amaro, Aperol and lemon.
Courtesy of Ace

Avanti F&B, a collective eatery

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From noon 'til 5 p.m., enjoy Woodford Reserve on the trellis deck at Avanti's first annual Derby party, where a large viewing screen of the race will be complemented by live music, Kentucky inspired food and booze, and generous prizes for best dressed.
Facebook
With the constant bustle at Denver Central Market, it's no wonder the food hall is getting in on the fiercely competitive action of Derby Day. Head to the largest and most lavish party at Curio and enjoy the adjacent parking lot and alley. Dress in your Derby best for a special screening of the race, along with live music, pop-ups, prizes, drink specials and more. Tickets, which should be purchased in advance are $35 and include two drinks, a julep cup and more. A 20-person jazz brass band will set the Southern sound stage.
Curio Facebook

Hotel Boulderado

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Bring your buddies to Boulder and enjoy the bourbon tasting, live jazz, and hat contest, before digging into southern flavors of the grits station and shrimp andouille.
Facebook

Rhein Haus Denver

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Rhein Haus will host a hat contest and encourages a "bigger the better" mantra for the event. As you work up an appetite carrying the wide load on top of your head, enjoy the Southern food specials, Old Forester mint juleps and live music by Colin Mcafee.
Facebook

RiNo Yacht Club

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Rino Yacht Club is throwing down some Southern-style shenanigans to celebrate Derby Day from noon to 6 p.m. Inspired by owner, Mary Wright, and beverage director, McLain Hedges’ southern backgrounds, the team will serve up classic Derby fare, drink specials, flowing bourbon, live music from Oakhurst, contests and prizes.
Adam Larkey

Solitaire Restaurant

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A two-for-one event, Solitaire celebrates Derby Day and an Angels Envy Fundraiser for the local St. Jude. Admission is free and don't forget to snap a polaroid shot to be considered for best dressed couple/ group.
Solitaire Facebook

Stanley Marketplace

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Head to Aurora's newest mixed-use food and fun hall for the 2017 Kentucky Derby viewing party. The mini derby brings the spirit of the event to Colorado from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy the corgi races, participate in the best dressed awards, and watch the actual event live. Tickets are available online and should be purchased in advance. Oh, and as if there weren't enough food and drink options to start with, try the Rolling Smoke BBQ for the celebration.
Eventbrite

The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa

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If you're really feeling fancy, trot on over to the Brown Palace for an all-day Derby celebration, complete with champagne brunch, blue grass music, prizes and giveaways. Live coverage of the event will be on the jumbo screen in the lobby and Ships Tavern. Brunch is $53.95 and the domaine chandon is $63.95. Don't miss the Bulleit bourbon julep.
The Brown Palace Facebook

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill

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For those not attending the official Derby Party downtown, Thirsty Lion Union Station and Thirsty Lion Cherry Creek offer a place to view the race indoors, because welcome to springtime in Denver. The gastropub recently rolled out a Spring Fresh Sheet that features fresh seasonal items such as ahi poke stack, thai shrimp and noodle salad, and bronzed salmon and mango quinoa, with featured cocktails including a cucumber rosemary gin and tonic and strawberry basil margarita.
Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill Chad Walsh

Ace Eat Serve

Uptown's ping-pong hall meets Asian fusion hot spot has a special drink on the menu for the race they're calling the Paper Plane, made with Turkey Bourbon 81, taverna amaro, Aperol and lemon.
Courtesy of Ace

Avanti F&B, a collective eatery

From noon 'til 5 p.m., enjoy Woodford Reserve on the trellis deck at Avanti's first annual Derby party, where a large viewing screen of the race will be complemented by live music, Kentucky inspired food and booze, and generous prizes for best dressed.
Facebook

CURIO

With the constant bustle at Denver Central Market, it's no wonder the food hall is getting in on the fiercely competitive action of Derby Day. Head to the largest and most lavish party at Curio and enjoy the adjacent parking lot and alley. Dress in your Derby best for a special screening of the race, along with live music, pop-ups, prizes, drink specials and more. Tickets, which should be purchased in advance are $35 and include two drinks, a julep cup and more. A 20-person jazz brass band will set the Southern sound stage.
Curio Facebook

Hotel Boulderado

Bring your buddies to Boulder and enjoy the bourbon tasting, live jazz, and hat contest, before digging into southern flavors of the grits station and shrimp andouille.
Facebook

Rhein Haus Denver

Rhein Haus will host a hat contest and encourages a "bigger the better" mantra for the event. As you work up an appetite carrying the wide load on top of your head, enjoy the Southern food specials, Old Forester mint juleps and live music by Colin Mcafee.
Facebook

RiNo Yacht Club

Rino Yacht Club is throwing down some Southern-style shenanigans to celebrate Derby Day from noon to 6 p.m. Inspired by owner, Mary Wright, and beverage director, McLain Hedges’ southern backgrounds, the team will serve up classic Derby fare, drink specials, flowing bourbon, live music from Oakhurst, contests and prizes.
Adam Larkey

Solitaire Restaurant

A two-for-one event, Solitaire celebrates Derby Day and an Angels Envy Fundraiser for the local St. Jude. Admission is free and don't forget to snap a polaroid shot to be considered for best dressed couple/ group.
Solitaire Facebook

Stanley Marketplace

Head to Aurora's newest mixed-use food and fun hall for the 2017 Kentucky Derby viewing party. The mini derby brings the spirit of the event to Colorado from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy the corgi races, participate in the best dressed awards, and watch the actual event live. Tickets are available online and should be purchased in advance. Oh, and as if there weren't enough food and drink options to start with, try the Rolling Smoke BBQ for the celebration.
Eventbrite

The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa

If you're really feeling fancy, trot on over to the Brown Palace for an all-day Derby celebration, complete with champagne brunch, blue grass music, prizes and giveaways. Live coverage of the event will be on the jumbo screen in the lobby and Ships Tavern. Brunch is $53.95 and the domaine chandon is $63.95. Don't miss the Bulleit bourbon julep.
The Brown Palace Facebook

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill

For those not attending the official Derby Party downtown, Thirsty Lion Union Station and Thirsty Lion Cherry Creek offer a place to view the race indoors, because welcome to springtime in Denver. The gastropub recently rolled out a Spring Fresh Sheet that features fresh seasonal items such as ahi poke stack, thai shrimp and noodle salad, and bronzed salmon and mango quinoa, with featured cocktails including a cucumber rosemary gin and tonic and strawberry basil margarita.
Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill Chad Walsh

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