If you like hats, horses and hard liquor, get yourself to a Kentucky Derby party, stat. The race (and bottomless mint julep deals) happen Saturday, May 6.

Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, is just under 400 miles from Milwaukee. But that doesn’t matter to folks who wear their biggest (gawdiest?) hat to a local drinking establishment to watch the country’s most famous horse race. The 143rd running is Saturday, May 6, and the mint juleps will be flowing at several local places, along with other specials.


The local grand pooh-bah of Derby fests, this is a fundraiser for Hunger Task Force. Drink specials available inside both bars and in the outdoor tent include the obligatory mint julep, Oaks Lily (a vodka-cranberry concoction) and peach vodka Derby tea.

The food specials are extensive and feature Louisville fried chicken, BBQ spaghetti with pulled pork, Kentucky hot browns (and open-face sandwich with house-smoked turkey and Mornay sauce) and Derby walnut chocolate pie. Jackson Park Jazz Orchestra performs in the party tent, and there are best-dressed contests as well. Starts at 1 p.m.
(6732 W. Fairview Ave.)

Iron Horse Hotel

The festivities include live music (3-5 p.m.), photo opps with a horse (don’t ask; they just send me this stuff), a Champagne bar, and $35 Woodford Reserve mint julep served in a copper cup to take home (3-5 p.m.) Prizes for best hat and bow tie. Starts at 2 p.m.
(500 W. Florida St.)

Monarch Lounge at Hilton Milwaukee City Center

Cocktails, photos taken with horses and the hotel’s canine “concierge” (Millie) and a special a la carte buffet, including mini hot browns, cream cheese biscuits with figgy port chutney and smoked ham; Cajun crawfish cakes; Benedictine finger sandwiches and burgoo (a spicy stew from Kentucky). Starts at 2 p.m.
(509 W. Wisconsin Ave.)

Drink Wisconsinbly Pub

The former Blue Jacket is doing Bulleit bourbon mint juleps and Ketel One Oak Lilys. Prizes for the “fanciest” and “cheesiest” hats. Starts at noon.
(135 E. National Ave.)

Stick around for This Bites! For your streaming pleasure, we have our Derby Day edition. Our segment airs Fridays at 8 a.m. on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, but stream the soundcloud version now! You won’t regret it. 

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