Where to Wine and Dine During the Kentucky Derby

By Jess Balasa | May 2, 2019 | Food & Drink

There is nothing more thrilling than witnessing the annual Kentucky Derby, the two most exciting minutes in sports that comes but once a year. May 4th marks the 145th Derby, and it’s off to the races for eager Philadelphians. Break out your most fashionable fascinator hat, and sip a refreshing mint julep at these haute hotspots.

Red Owl Tavern


Lead Bartender Kyle Darrow has crafted a Chartreuse Spiked Julep, especially for the day’s guests. The herbal libation is made with Yellow Chartreuse, bourbon, crushed ice and finished with mint. Make bets on your favorite horse in the rustic atmosphere of the tavern. 1516 South St., 267.319.1366, redowltavern.com

Ocean Prime

The evening’s activities are like a luxe, grown-up twist on a night at the movies, only better. Snack on truffle popcorn and watch the live broadcast from the comfort of Ocean Prime’s elegant dining room. Best of all, make-your-own Mint Juleps ensure that the signature drink can be customized to satisfy even the most discerning palate. Your choice of liqueur is mixed with Disaronno, bitters, and mint for a tasty treat. 124 S. 15th St., 215.563.0163, ocean-prime.com

Stratus Lounge

Kick back and relax as you observe the festivities at Churchill Downs with sweeping views of the Philadelphia skyline in the background. The races are perfectly timed for the golden hour, so you can celebrate the winning steed while basking in the rooftop glow at sunset. 433 Chestnut St., 215.925.2889, stratuslounge.com

Rex 1516

The restaurant famous for its southern comfort fare turns into a sports bar just once each year—Derby Day. Come as a spectator to cheer on the next winner, and stay for Lead Bartender Lou DiNunzio’s delicious cocktails and St. Louis Style Spare Ribs. 1516 South St., 267.319.1366, rex1516.com

The Twisted Tail

The annual Kentucky Derby Outdoor Viewing Party is an event that never disappoints. An 18-foot screen broadcasts the races in incredible detail while you dine on charcoal-grilled chicken skewers and drink Woodford Reserve whiskey. Be sure to wear your best attire, as there are prizes awarded for the Best Hat and Bow Tie. 509 S. Second St., 215.558.2471, thetwistedtail.com

Photography by: Photography by: Stuart Goldenberg; Photo courtesy from PunchMedia