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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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ace Eat Serve

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501 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 800-7705
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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

2. Avanti F&B, a collective eatery

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3200 Pecos St
Denver, CO 80211
(720) 269-4778
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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

3. CURIO

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2669 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
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

4. Hotel Boulderado

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2115 13th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-4344
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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

5. Rhein Haus Denver

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1415 Market St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 800-2652
Visit Website
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

6. RiNo Yacht Club

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3350 Brighton Blvd
Denver, CO 80216
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

7. Solitaire Restaurant

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3927 W 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80212
(303) 477-4732
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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

8. Stanley Marketplace

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2501 Dallas St
Aurora, CO 80010
(720) 588-9158
Visit Website
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

9. The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa

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321 17th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 297-3111
Visit Website
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

10. Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill

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1605 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 623-0316
Visit Website
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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1. Ace Eat Serve

501 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Courtesy of Ace
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.
501 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

2. Avanti F&B, a collective eatery

3200 Pecos St, Denver, CO 80211
Facebook
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.
3200 Pecos St
Denver, CO 80211

3. CURIO

2669 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Curio 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.
2669 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205

4. Hotel Boulderado

2115 13th Street, Boulder, CO 80302
Facebook
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.
2115 13th Street
Boulder, CO 80302

5. Rhein Haus Denver

1415 Market St, Denver, CO 80202
Facebook
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.
1415 Market St
Denver, CO 80202

6. RiNo Yacht Club

3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216
Adam Larkey
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.
3350 Brighton Blvd
Denver, CO 80216

7. Solitaire Restaurant

3927 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80212
Solitaire Facebook
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.
3927 W 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80212

8. Stanley Marketplace

2501 Dallas St, Aurora, CO 80010
Eventbrite
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.
2501 Dallas St
Aurora, CO 80010

9. The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa

321 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
The Brown Palace Facebook
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.
321 17th St
Denver, CO 80202

10. Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill

1605 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill Chad Walsh
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.
1605 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202

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