Hats Off! Here Are This Year’s Most Fabulous Derby Day Fetes

Hats Off! Here Are This Year’s Most Fabulous Derby Day Fetes

Mint julep sips at — where else? — Julep

ON MAY 4 IN Kentucky, thousands of race fans will don their springtime finest and excessive headwear to watch horses run around the track for exactly one and a quarter mile. Join the mint-julep fun at Houston’s three top spots to witness “the fastest two minutes in sports” — and just maybe win a costume contest.

Arnaldo Richards' Picos

While their main event will be Cinco de Mayo the next day (their 40th!) Picos will have derby-inspired drinks with happy hour from 11-5pm. Don’t miss the best-dressed contest — the winner gets a brunch for four!

Backstreet Cafe

Maker's Mark and patio-fave Backstreet Cafe are teaming up for an all-day party May 4, featuring three iterations of a Maker's Mark mint julep and a special dish: Backstreet's Kentucky Derby Board ($32) has deviled eggs, pimento cheese, cucumber sandwiches, hot-chicken biscuits, and fried green tomatoes with crab remoulade. And don't forget the hats! There will be a prize for the best one.

Brasserie 19

B19's Derby Day bash (photo by Andy Hemingway)

Mark your calendars: the 150th Kentucky Derby is right around the corner. Wear your finest hats and raise your mint juleps as Brasserie 19 hosts its annual Kentucky Derby Hat Party on May 4 from 1pm-7pm. Round up your crew and join the River Oaks crowd for an afternoon of horse racing and high style. Put your Derby hat game to the test for a chance to win a Champagne brunch for six! To secure your reservation for the party, contact the restaurant directly at 713.524.1919.

Brenner's on the Bayou

Brenner's on the Bayou

Wine Fest Derby Style is back at Brenner’s on the Bayou. Guests are invited on Saturday, May 4, to sample an exclusive wine collection while listening to live music and strolling around the scenic property. In addition, chef-crafted bites will be served from eight of Houston’s top restaurants. This year, the outdoor festival will feature 18 wineries and sampling of more than 40 wines, including Napa Valley-based Revana Family Vineyards owned by Houston physician Madaiah Revana. Guests are invited to break out their spring pastels, hats and fascinators and enter the Derby Big Hat Contest. Grand, second and third prizes will be awarded. After the event, stay and watch the race at one of Houston’s best patio bars, Blue Bar. Wine Fest Experience Tickets, available here, are $150, or $250 for the VIP Exclusive Experience.


Even Hamsa, Rice Village’s Israeli resto, is getting in on the fun! Enjoy a Woodford-sponsored Derby brunch and drink menu from 11:30am-2:30pm on its verdant patio. Guests are encouraged to dress the part, so break out the bowties and fancy hats!

Heights Bier Garten

Heights Bier Garten

For a more casual affair, check out Heights Bier Garten's eighth annual Race for the Roses party. Doors open at 11am, but Derby festivities won't begin until 3pm, when Davi Jay & The Bourbon Street Experience take the stage. Plenty of games, photo booths, and mint juleps here! Best Dressed Contest takes place at 6:30pm.


James Beard Award-winning bar owner Alba Huerta and Top Chef pitmaster contender Michelle Wallace will team up at Julep’s annual Derby bash May 4, from 1-4pm. Expect mint julep-friendly bites throughout the afternoon and DJ G-Funk and DJ Goodfat live entertainment. The Wash Ave hot spot encourages guests to show off their Southern flair and break out their best Derby hats and bowties for the backyard tented event, which features several bars. Tickets available online.

Pier 6

Take a mini road trip and enjoy Derby Day bayside! Pier 6 throws a spirited soiree on its patio, 4-7pm, complete with a rose-covered wall for pics, wine-basket prize for the best dressed, and Woodford mint juleps for just $8 (the best price we've seen!). Plus: Guests who pick the winning horse will be entered into a raffle for a Pier 6 gift card.

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