Derby Day Events at Local Bars and Restaurants

Where to celebrate the annual horse race, held on the first Saturday in May.

The 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 7 at Churchill Downs racetrack. But you don’t need to be in Louisville to be part of the action. Several local restos are throwing parties. Here are a few examples:


Maxie’s (6732 W. Fairview Ave.): The 9th annual Derby Day Party for Hunger Relief starts at 1 p.m. The entrance fee is $15, which will be donated to the Hunger Task Force. The Jackson Park Jazz Orchestra is set to perform big band music before and after the race. In the food department, Maxie’s regular menu is available, along with a specials menu of things like Kentucky hot browns, bourbon balls and derby pie. Besides a bourbon barrel ale, Maxie’s is serving Four Roses bourbon mint juleps.


Iron Horse Hotel (500 W. Florida St.): The “Down Right Derby” runs from 3-6 p.m. Highlights: $10 mint juleps or $40 bottomless Woodford Reserve mint juleps; awards for best dressed and best hat.


Monarch Lounge (Hilton Milwaukee Hotel, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave.): The party (2-6 p.m.) features a bourbon tasting and buffet with deviled eggs, crab cakes and fried chicken biscuit sliders. Hats and spirited attire are encouraged, as there are contests for best dressed and best hat. Cost is $45 per person.


Meraki (939 S. Second St.): The doors open at 4 p.m. Among the festivities: a best-dressed contest, along with passed hors d’oeuvres and specialty cocktails.



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.