Hold your horses! Never mind the races. The most entertaining part of the Kentucky Derby is the absurdity taking place off the track. And now a taste of all that unbridled Southern pageantry is hitting LA on Saturday, May 4. While most people will be celebrating the weekend with Cinco de Mayo tacos and margaritas, if you’d rather opt for a mint julep and an oversized hat that’s not a sombrero, here are a few places celebrating the Kentucky Derby here in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Athletic Club – 431 W. 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Taking place in LAAC’s main Game Room from 1pm to 4pm, the 3rd annual “Hold Your Horses” celebration will be playing the races with multiple screens throughout the historic Downtown LA venue along with whiskey tastings, Kentucky-inspired cocktails, a Southern buffet, live music courtesy of Bastards of Belleville, equine-inspired activities and of course, hats, hats and more hats. Milliner Pooka Queen will be showcasing her original creations during the event, which you can also buy. Admission is $42 per person and includes entry, buffet, complimentary mint julep, games and live entertainment. www.laac.com
Sassafras – 1233 Vine St, Hollywood, CA 90038
This Southern mansion smack dab in the middle of Hollywood at Fountain and Vine is where you and your frilly-hatted friends can head for some post-race revelry from 4pm to 7pm. Expect live entertainment from Barrelhouse Wailers, plus quintessential Southern cocktails and other drink specials. Try the Sassafras Royal, a rye cocktail that uses housemade sassafras bitters alongside house-brewed sarsaparilla; the Toasted Pecan Julep, a rum and brandy take on a mint julep with housemade pecan liqueur; or, if you’re a lightweight, do the herb-infused ginger beer. www.sassafrashollywood.com
The Churchill – 8384 West 3rd St, West Hollywood, CA 90048
Can’t make it to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby? No problem. You can get a little Southern comfort at the Churchill on 3rd Street here in LA. Food and drink specials go on til 7pm–everything from $8 juleps and $15 mimosa pitchers to Chef Bruce Kalman’s take on Southern favorites–along with a soundtrack provided by soft rock crew Overboard featuring captains Waldo, Hoff and a rotating cast of guests. www.the-churchill.com
Bar Nineteen 12 – 9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
If you’re looking for a little Southern comfort in the 90210, check out this Beverly Hills Hotel bar’s viewing party starting at 2pm. There will be complimentary whiskey tastings courtesy of Heaven Hill Distilleries, Derby-themed bar bites and classic cocktails. Guests are encouraged to enter the “Best Hat” contest with the lucky winner getting brunch for four in the Polo Lounge. After the horses cross the finish line there’ll be live music by crooner Eddie Wakes from 4pm to 7pm, following an evening performance by Quetzal Guerrero from 9pm to midnight. www.beverlyhillshotel.com/bar-nineteen12
Township Saloon – 6612 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
This comfy American bar is getting all Southern about it with a Kentucky Derby party from noon to 5pm. Enter the Best Hat contest and enjoy Derby Day specials like Maker’s Mark traditional and blackberry mint juleps, “Hot Brown” open-faced turkey sandwiches covered in Mornay sauce & bacon, plus old-school Derby pie. www.townshipsaloon.com
Hollywood Park – 1050 S. Prairie Ave, Inglewood, CA 90301
If you can’t be in Louisville for the races, head over to Hollywood Park for “Run for the Roses,” a huge day of racing simulcast from Churchill Downs + live racing beginning at 11am. There’ll be a family buffet (check the site for prices and details), Maker’s Mark mint juleps served in a Kentucky Derby 139 commemorative glass for $13 and a Derby Dream contest if you think you can predict the exact order of all the Derby contestants. Ladies, there’s also a Derby Hat Contest so don your most beautiful and elegant, or wacky and wild headpiece and you just might win some cash. www.betfairhollywoodpark.com
Skybar – 8440 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Seersucker suits on the Sunset Strip? Shut your mouth! Skybar at the Mondrian hotel is encouraging you to dress in your Derby best for their viewing party on Saturday, May 4. The action starts at noon and goes on til… all those haute hats end up in the pool? There will be a DJ, light eats and plenty of Derby-esque cocktails like the Lemon Ginger Tulep and Thoroughbred made with bourbon and peach puree. www.mondrianhotel.com
Lifestyle writer Mar Yvette is on a mission to bring you the best people, places and products to make your life pop!