Race Over to These Derby Day Events

Place your bets on a good time at these metro Detroit celebrations
Stock photograph by coldbeer via Pexels.com

While the annual Kentucky Derby takes place roughly 375 miles south, some metro Detroit bars and restaurants are certainly getting into the racing spirit. Trot your way over to these events to sip on mint juleps and watch the race on May 6.

The Detroit Kentucky Derby Day Party

The Circle Detroit is bringing its annual Derby Day celebration to The Detroit Zoo. The event will feature a dining tent, multiple bars, local vendors, dance areas, and more. Ladies wear your best hats and gents wear your best suit. Attendees will be able to enjoy complimentary parking. Tickets range from $70 to $165. May 6 from 4-10 p.m. The Detroit Zoo, 8450 W 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak; facebook.com.

Run for the Rosés

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby by meeting new friends at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Troy. You can start your evening by sipping on a Mint Julep, and then take your pick from a menu that includes Buttermilk Drop Biscuits, Oaks Lily Crisp Brie, Blue Moon Braised Pork Shanks, and a Kentucky Bourbon Ball. Don’t hesitate to wear a colorful hat, fedoras, and fascinators in honor of this celebration. Tickets are $69 per person. May 9 from 7-10 p.m. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, 151 E Big Beaver Road, Troy; eventbrite.com.

 A Day at The Races

Spend your Kentucky Derby at the Detroit Yacht Club where WJZZ Detroit Jazz Radio is putting on a Day at the Races. Enjoy traditional Mint Julep cocktails, dancing, and music. After a live jazz concert, the race will be on TV for all to watch. Tickets are $75 per person. May 6 from 2-8 p.m. Detroit Yacht Club, 1 Riverbank Dr., Detroit; eventbrite.com.

Serenity Oaks Equine Sanctuary

Benders Bar is benefitting Serenity Oaks, a local equine sanctuary that supports retired racehorses and more, in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Indulge in traditional derby food, drinks, live music, a 50/50, and a raffle table! Show up to this watch party in your best derby attire for the chance to win best dressed prizes. Tickets are $25 per person. May 6 from 2-8 p.m. Bender’s Bar, 34830 E Michigan Ave., Wayne; eventbrite.com.

 Annual South Runs for the Roses

The Mother’s Club of Grosse Pointe South is putting on their annual South Runs For The Roses in support of Grosse Pointe South. Start the night off with dinner. Then, enjoy entertainment, and possibly partake in the silent auction and the live auction. Ticket prices range from $125 to $140. May 6 starting at 6 p.m. Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, 788 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores; grossepointchamber.com.

Derby for Kids

The Children’s Foundation hosts their annual Derby for Kids to support the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), The Children’s Foundation, and substance use disorder interventions this year. Take part in the event by donating or take a look at their auction page, which closes on May 6 at 6:45 p.m., to place bids. The main Derby event will take place May 6 from 4-8 p.m. at the Country Club of Detroit. Ticket prices range from $150 to $200. Country Club of Detroit, 220 Country Club Dr., Grosse Pointe Farms; yourchildrensfoundation.org.

Firebird Tavern

Firebird Tavern in Detroit is hosting a Kentucky Derby Watch Party. Pretend you are in Kentucky for the day and come wearing your best Derby attire for the chance to win a prize for best dressed! Woodford Mint Julep’s will be served in souvenir cups and Firebird will be handing out prizes and doing giveaways throughout the entirety of the event. Party starts at 2 p.m. Firebird Tavern, 419 Monroe St., Detroit; firebirdtavern.com.

Kentucky Derby Party

Sidecar Slider Bar is celebrating the Kentucky Derby with an evening filled with Derby-inspired food and drink specials from 4-8 p.m. The special cocktail menu features Maker’s Mark Mint Juleps, the Classic Brown Derby, and the “Run for the Roses” rose-infused vodka cocktail. On the food menu, find options like pimento cheese dip, fried chicken wings, Louisville hot brown sliders, and more. In addition to the specials, Sidecar will be giving out gift cards to those with the best Derby fashion including best hat, best-dressed guy and gal, best-dressed couple, and best-dressed group. A “Derby Draw” game, too. Sidecar Slider Bar, 117 Willits St., Birmingham; sidecarsliderbar.com

This post has been updated for 2023.