Eight Great Kentucky Derby Parties and Bar Crawls

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On Kentucky Derby day, we don seersucker suits and elaborate, giant hats in order to watch — maybe — a two-minute race happening halfway across the country. But here in Denver, we'll take any excuse to head out on the town to drink juleps, nosh on some good food and enjoy a little spring weather. Just remember, you have to be up early to take your mom to brunch on Sunday, so make like a horse and pace yourself. Here are eight spots to show off your best oversized head gear and drink enough to have a really hurting head Saturday. Giddy-up!    
   8. The Bar Car 
819 Colorado Boulevard 

The Bar Car throws one of the best derby parties around, and this year's version promises to be the best yet — as evidenced by the "Talk Derby to Me" mural proudly painted on one wall of the bar. The sixth annual Kentucky Derby Party here runs from 1 to 8 p.m. on May 7 and will feature live music by That Damn Sasquatch and Waitin' on Ray, giveaways, a silent auction, loads of juleps and floppy hats, and more. Best of all, the bar has teamed up with the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, the world’s largest sports-endurance charity, which will receive a portion of the proceeds. You can get all the information on the party on the event's Facebook page.   

7. CU South Denver 
10035 South Peoria Street, Parker
CU South Denver will host a derby day party from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday.  You can dive into cocktails and derby-themed hors d’oeuvres like Kentucky hot browns, Southern-style pickled shrimp and Kentucky pecan pie, and there will be prizes for best hat and best-dressed for both women and men, as well as a fantasy race contest and derby-themed games. Tickets to the event are $40, $25 for designated drivers, and $30 for CU faculty, staff and alumni. Sorry kids, the event is 21 and over only. Purchase tickets and get all the details here

6. Hyatt Regency Denver
650 15th Street

The MyLifeLine.org Cancer Foundation will hold its ninth annual Jockeys, Juleps & Jazz Kentucky Derby party at the Hyatt Regency Hotel from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday. The shindig will include hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and, of course, signature mint juleps. There will also be live and silent auctions, a photo booth, hat contest, Southern fare and more, including the presentation of the 2016 George Karl Courage and George Karl Visionary Awards. Tickets to the party are $150 and can be purchased here

5Interstate Kitchen & Bar
1001 Santa Fe Drive
Interstate Kitchen & Bar will be showing the Kentucky Derby on several big screens while you feed on free snacks and mint julep specials. There will also be a pick-the-winner contest and more, with the fun starting at 3:30 p.m. Call the bar at 720-479-8829 for all the details. 

Keep reading for more derby action.
4. The Lobby
2191 Arapahoe Street
So you can't make it to Churchill Downs for the big race? The Lobby has you covered. The next best thing to being at the Kentucky Derby is watching goldfish races at the Lobby, a feature of its Kentucky Derby Party. You can also enjoy Southern-style brunch specials, bottomless mimosas, Bulleit bourbon specials, lawn games and  prizes for best-dressed and best hat. There's no cover for the party, and reservations will be taken between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. only — with first-come, first-served seating for the patio and after 11 a.m. Call 303-997-9911 to make your reservations, and head over to the event's Facebook page for the full scoop. 

3. LoDo 
My Drink On is hosting its first Derby de Mayo bar crawl in LoDo this Saturday, from 4 p.m. to bar close. The hybrid event will feature plenty of juleps, margaritas and drink specials from at least eight LoDo bars, as well as a scavenger hunt. Tickets are $5 and include a wristband for entry into all participating bars, two drink tickets and the chance to win entry to future events through the scavenger hunt. Buy tickets and get all the boozy details here. A portion of the proceeds will go to local charities. 
2. TheBigWonderful  
2600 Lawrence Street
TheBigWonderful is throwing down all weekend long to celebrate the first market of the season, and on Saturday you can shop, listen to live music, eat, drink and watch a live stream of the Kentucky Derby on big screens. Tickets to the derby-themed event are $7 for general admission, which includes one Modelo beer. $25 will get you a VIP ticket, which includes admission, one adult beverage, a T-shirt and access to the Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby VIP Tent. Grab your tickets and find more information at thebigwonderful.com.

1. ViewHouse 
2015 Market Street, 720-878-2015
7101 South Clinton Street, Centennial, 303-816-3160

Watch the fastest two minutes in sports at either ViewHouse location, which claim to be hosting Colorado’s two largest free Kentucky Derby parties. Both spots will show the race on their massive TVs and an array of smaller flat-screens. There will also be live music and DJs, as well as mint julep and Stella Artois specials all day long. You could even win a pair of tickets to the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Visit viewhouse.com for more information on both events.   

For more Food & Drink events, go to our online calendar. If you know of an event that should be included in that calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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