Prepare the seersucker and wide-brimmed hats: It’s derby time. This weekend marks 143rd Running of the Roses, (also known as “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports”) the annual horse race that takes place in Louisville, KY. So, set your alarm for Saturday, May 6 at 3:34 pm PST and dust off your preppy gear. Don’t worry, you’ll have all day to flounce about in hats and other fun accoutrements, with mint juleps in hand. Here are a few of SF’s most derby-friendly spots for watching (and drinking).
Comstock’s annual Derby party goes from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m., and it features a miniature horse. A miniature horse. Plus, Southern cocktails like mint juleps, Seelbachs, Sazerac shots, and a special derby ‘tail. There’ll also be betting (with proceeds going to the Marin Food Bank) and a contest for best hat and “dandiest fellow.” Oh yeah, and they’ll show the derby.
Head over to this Castro spot for a “Hats On” contest, wherein inners recieve a $100 gift card to the restaurant. Everyone else can drink mint juleps and another special cocktail called Rick’s rose. The whole thing starts at 12:30 p.m.
Hog and Rocks
Drink festive cocktails from Heaven Hill Distillery and snacks like country ham and oysters from 12:00 p.m.-4 p.m. There’s a costume contest, gambling, and an oyster “shuck and suck” contest, naturally, plus a bluegrass band. Buy a ticket for $35, which goes towards food and drinks at the event.
One of the East Bay’s best cocktail destinations will show the race, with guests encouraged to attend in sassy derby attire. The restaurant will replay the race throughout the evening, as well as “horse-forward movies.” There’ll be mint juleps made with Woodford Reserve, a flight of juleps made with huckleberry, watermelon-jalapeño and more, and food specials like smoked salmon deviled eggs, and cucumber tea sandwiches.
This Marina bar can’t shake the ghost of its former party-brunch spot. Now it will host a “Winner’s Circle” viewing party from 2:00 p.m.- 6 p.m. Derby drinks will be on hand, with the race shown on four huge televisions. Tickets are available, plus the VIP option which includes mint juleps and sparkling wine.
Farmstead at Long meadow Ranch (St. Helena)
The laid-back Napa Valley restaurant is hosting a big screen viewing party, Southern food and cocktails, and betting (with proceeds going to charity). Everyone is encouraged to dress in derby duds, with prizes to award the most enthusiastic (and best hatted). Tickets are $15 per person, and include one mint julep and snacks. Children are free. It all goes down from 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Madrone Art Bar
A very SF viewing party is happening at Madrone Art bar, with mint juleps, and derby clothing encouraged. The event goes from 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
The Guardsman’s 5th Annual Party
The 5th annual party takes place at the General’s Residence at Fort Mason (1 Franklin St.), from 1 p.m.- 6 p.m. Watch race, and drink way too many mint juleps while playing cornhole, and other fratty games. An auction, raffle, and “best dressed” contest are part of the fun, with proceeds benefitting at-risk youth. Tickets are available here.