Who needs to go to Kentucky when there are plenty of excellent Derby Day celebrations in Milwaukee? No matter where you live, there's a local place for you to watch and celebrate the 145th annual Kentucky Derby on Saturday:
Here are 12 of our picks:
1. Art Bar
722 E. Burleigh St., (414) 372-7880
Grab your wide-brimmed hats and join Art Bar for its Kentucky Derby Hat Party. Enjoy buy-one-get-one mint juleps and happy hour pricing on all beer, wine and call cocktails. Wear big hats and best Southern Belle apparel for a chance to win "best dressed" for the evening.
1716 N. Arlington Pl., (414) 755-0099
At Balzac you can enjoy $5 Mint Juleps, half-off bottles of cava and a menu of Derby-inspired small plates. Wear a hat or bowtie and be entered into a drawing to win a bottle of wine. See you at the races, Balzac-style.
3. Glass + Griddle
1130 N. 9th St., (414) 988-1551
If you're looking for a spot with bourbon for all, head over to Glass + Griddle to view the Kentucky Derby! Derby Day go-ers will enter in style with a red carpet photo op upon arrival and can participate in a "Southern Belle & Gentleman" best-dressed contest. It’s the kind of day that’ll make you say "Bless your heart." OnMilwaukee is a proud sponsor of this event; see you there.
4. Hilton Milwaukee City Center
509 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 271-7250
Join in for the most exciting two minutes of sports. Pick your bourbon, your bonnet and your horse, and grab a front row seat for the viewing. The Hilton Milwaukee City Center's Monarch Lounge will host its fifth annual Derby party with special featured cocktails like the Woodford Julep and complementary appetizers. There will also be live music, raffles, the canine concierge, Millie, will be in costume and available for photo opportunities, as well as a real horse! In addition, the best dressed couple and best hat will win an overnight stay at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.
5. Hotel Madrid
600 S. 6th St., (414) 488-9146
Swap out the sangria, because Hotel Madrid is hosting "Big Hats, Bigger Juleps," to transport you straight to Churchill Downs. Different specials will be featured throughout the day for morning, day and night, from bourbon and rye whipped creams to julep shakes. Carry the party past midnight as the Derby turns to tequila for a special Hotel Madric Cinco de Mayo celebration.
6. Iron Horse Hotel
500 W. Florida St., (414) 374-4766
Put on your favorite over-sized hat or seersucker suit and "Talk Derby To Me" at Iron Horse Hotel's annual outdoor Derby Day party. The Extra Crispy Brass Band will be playing live before and after the race; festivities include photo ops with the living breathing Iron Horse, access to the Veuve Cliquot-Moët & Chandon champagne bar, bottomless mint julep mugs and prizes for best hat and best bow tie. Giddy up!
7. Lost Valley Cider Co.
408 W. Florida St.
Bringing together May the Fourth and Derby Day, Lost Valley will be bringing the Star Wars puns all day with specials including cider slushy cocktails: Basil Mint Julep & Force Frosé. There will be raffles and prizes for those who guess the correct horse, "the race see, you must!"
6732 W. Fairview Ave., (414) 292-3969
For the 12th year in a row, Maxie's will host what it calls Milwaukee's largest Derby Day party in support of Hunger Task Force, May 4 from 1 to 5 p.m. This year, in recognition of the Derby falling on May the Fourth, Maxie’s is adding a bonus category of best Star Wars-themed outfit to the best dressed categories. With costume contests, live music, drink specials, tasty food and entertainment, what’s not to love?
9. Pier 106 Seafood Tavern
106 W. Wells St., (414) 273-7678
Party at Pier 106 with drink specials, authentic Derby-style food and contests (best dressed male, best dressed female, best hat). There will be a Jim Beam mint julep ice sculpture pouring $7 Mint Juleps. After the race, jump aboard the Edelweiss for a special $15 cruise. The boat departs Pier 106 at 6:30 p.m. and returns at 8 p.m.; the cruise features scenic views and drink specials.
10. Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
1721 W. Canal St., (800) 729-7244
Off-track betting, a hat contest, a mint julep glass giveaway and more will be happening at Poto this Derby Day. If you want to win big, come by starting at 8:30 a.m. Other than the competitions, you can also enjoy food and drink specials. Get all the info on the event here.
11. Red Lion Pub
1850 N. Water St., (414) 431-9009
Red Lion Pub wants to get all fancy for its Let’s Get Derby party, with drink specials, giveaways, a best hat contest and more. Be sure to check out the rooftop patio during the event.
12. The Wicked Hop
345 N. Broadway, (414) 223-0345
The 145th Kentucky Derby is an occasion for The Wicked Hop to swap its famous Bloody Marys for special Bulleit mint juleps from 1 to 8 p.m. Bust out your searsucker suits and pastel dresses, you won’t want to miss it.