Heading to Louisville this year for the Kentucky Derby might be a longshot, but don’t worry. Fellow Angelenos skipping the festivities at Churchill Downs this year still have plenty of ways to be in on the action. So dust off your best Vineyard Vines bowtie and the fanciest hat imaginable because you are about to embark on some good old-fashion fun. Enjoy a front row seat for the best two minutes in sports at these L.A. hot spots serving up Mint Juleps fit for a photo finish.
The Independence Tavern
Santa Monica, CA 90401
And they’re off! Downtown Santa Monica tavern, The Independence, is suggesting you “Hedge All Derby Bets” with them this Saturday for horse racing’s main event. Throughout the race, The Independence will be serving up barman Vincenzo Marianella’s very own “Bernheim Bugle” in celebration of the time-honored bugle call tradition which signals the horses to being their trot to the starting gate. Why Bernheim Whisky you ask? Interestingly enough, Executive Chef Tom Block’s great great grandfather built the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville in 1897. So come race time, if you find yourself in DTSM, The Independence will the “slinging the signature mint julep variation so get in early and jockey for prime position.”
11647 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
On the big day of the race, Brentwood steakhouse Baltaire is hosting a Kentucky Derby celebration complete with a viewing of the main event live on a large projector screen inside the bar and lounge. Those hoping to enjoy a traditional southern cocktail on Derby Day can do so with the restaurant’s very own Baltaire Julep, while Executive Chef Travis Strickland offers” a specialty elevated take on the Hot Brown,” the race’s classic Southern sandwich. Guests are encouraged to dress in their best Derby wear such as big hats, summer dresses, and 1920s style suits and bow-ties. The full lunch, dinner, and beverage menus will also be available.
Coast Beach Café & Bar
1 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Come celebrate by the surf and the sand as Shutters On The Beach kicks-off a Kentucky Derby-themed brunch menu this Saturday. This special brunch will feature grandstand favorites like: Kentucky Hot Brown, Virginia Ham & Aged Swiss Cheese Omelet, Pulled Pork and Beef Braised Brisket Sandwiches, Biscuits & Gravy, and a “Run for the Roses” Pie with pecans, chocolate chips and bourbon that is everything you imagine and more. Let the libations flow as guests sip Triple Crown cocktails such as the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep, Crown of Roses Martini, or “bubbles-by-the-glass” as they cheer for their choice horses! The Derby fete begins at broadcast time and continues through post-time. Big hats are encouraged for the ladies!
1910 Ocean Way
Santa Monica, CA 90405
The beachfront lounge inside Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica is preparing for the Kentucky Derby by featuring a special horse race-themed, craft cocktail menu prepared by a guest mixologist. Some of the Derby cocktails include: He’s A Sprinter with Knob Creek Rye Whiskey, honey, and fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice; Go Man Go with Cruzan Aged Light Rum, mango juice, mint, and club soda; and the classic Maker’s Mark Mint Julep with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, mint, cane sugar, and crushed ice (all $14). Guests can also enjoy Terrazza’s signature Mediterranean small bites while taking in all the action as the race is broasted live.
Santa Anita Park
285 W Huntington Dr
Arcadia, CA 91007
It may not be where the center of the action is happening at Churchill Downs, but Santa Anita is throwing the “Biggest Kentucky Derby Party West of Kentucky” this weekend and you’re invited! It’s the most anticipated race of the year and the “most prestigious race track in America” plans to make it one of the most memorable as well. Complete with $1000 grand prize for the best Kentucky Derby hat, come cheer on as undefeated Santa Anita Derby winner, Dortmund makes a run at history in the Kentucky Derby. Place your bets, head trackside and enjoy food, drinks, live racing and live music during the most excited 120 seconds of the year.