The Kentucky Derby charges into 2018 this week with the Grade I stakes competition, the “Run for the Roses,” going down on Saturday, May 5. The race at Churchill Downs pits 20 horse and rider teams against each other for a chance to win $2 million and take a step closer to earning the Triple Crown. The race is set to start at 6:46 p.m. and only take two minutes to complete, however NBC will begin streaming the event at 11:30 a.m. This special event can’t be watched alone though; the excitement is too great for one person. It’s a good thing the East End has multiple venues hosting viewing parties, so friends and strangers can cheer, scream, win big or lose bigger together.
Here are five guaranteed to keep the adrenaline (and the drinks) flowing.
Baron’s Cove (31 West Water Street, Sag Harbor) is hosting a Kentucky Derby party beginning at 4 p.m. with mint julep specials, derby bites and more. After that, blues-folk duo Tom & Lisa provide live music from 5–8 p.m. Don’t forget to don a proper derby hat. They’re not mandatory, but they do make the night feel just a little bit classier. 631-725-2101, baronscove.com
Southampton Publick House (62 Jobs Lane, Southampton) couldn’t decide whether to host a party for Cinco de Mayo or the Kentucky Derby, so they fused the two into one big Derby de Mayo party. This wild mashup runs from 11 a.m.–midnight and includes mint julep and margarita specials, an outside bar and patio, 21 viewing screens and a whole lot of betting. After 10 p.m. happy hour specials kick in and DJ JetSet fills the restaurant with infectious dance beats. 631-283-2800, publick.com
The Southampton Social Club (256 Elm Street, Southampton) hosts a special two-day Kentucky Derby extravaganza starting on May 4 with complimentary passed hors d’oeuvres and top shelf open bar from 5–7 p.m. The fun continues the next day with a Derby Day Bash beginning at 5 p.m. All guests receive a complimentary mint julep, and the person with the best derby attire receives a $100 dinner gift card. Reservations should be made at 631-287-1400 to enjoy dinner, bottle service, music and dancing all night. southamptonsocialclub.com
Get that derby hat ready for a Hampton Bays Historical Society fundraiser at the Lyzon Hat Museum (116 West Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays). This delightful cocktail party runs from 4–7 p.m. under a tent and features hors d’oeuvres by Inn Spot on the Bay. Prizes are awarded to the best hats and ties (preferably bowties). Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door. They can be purchased by calling 631-728-0887 or by visiting hbhps.org.
The Shelter Island Historical Society is hosting a private viewing party for its member, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from considering this exclusive event. Prospective members can join today for $50 and a quick phone call to 631-749-0025. The party takes place at Havens Barn (16 South Ferry Road, Shelter Island) from 4:30–7 p.m. The event features multiple viewing screens, delicious food and lots of fancy people wearing ascots and big hats. shelterislandhistorical.org