Don your most ornate hat and head to these spots to drink bourbon, eat Kentucky-inspired fare and watch "the most exciting two minutes in sports" this Saturday.
Max Downtown, 185 Asylum Street, Hartford, hosts a Derby party at 3 p.m. The event includes Woodford Reserve cocktails (mint juleps and Manhattans,) passed hors d'oeuvres, a buffet dinner and desserts. Prizes will be awarded for Best Hat. The first 60 guests to reserve will receive a commemorative Woodford Reserve julep cup. Tickets are $39, plus tax and gratuity. 860-522-2530, maxdowntown.com.
Max's Oyster Bar, 964 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, will be pouring Wild Turkey cocktails, including a classic mint julep, Kickin’ Rye Smash, Wild Amaretto Sour, Max's 60 second Old Fashioned, Kentucky Summer Breeze, Wild Ginger Julep and Peach Tea Cooler. The restaurant will serve its full dinner menu and happy hour specials run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight. 860-236-6299, maxrestaurantgroup.com/oyster.
Max's Tavern, 1000 West Columbus Blvd., Springfield, will also offer a special Derby menu. Information: 413-746-6299, maxtavern.com.
Plan B Burger Bar celebrates Derby Day at all of its locations starting at 3 p.m. Each restaurant presents contests for Best Hat and Best Dressed, Four Roses mint juleps and Kentucky-inspired food like burgoo potato balls, Kentucky Hot Brown burger, Kentucky shrimp and grits and mint julep tiramisu. All Four Roses Bourbon proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society and Single Jingles: A Testicular Cancer Foundation. planbburger.com.
Dish Bar & Grill, 900 Main Street, Hartford, serves a $29 prix-fixe menu Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5. Starters include fried green tomatoes or pickled shrimp salad; Kentucky burgoo, pimenton-crusted strip steak, shrimp and grits and Kentucky pie or red velvet cake for dessert. Bottles of wine are half-priced Friday through Sunday, and Dish serves $3 mint juleps all weekend. 860-249-3474, dishbarandgrill.com.
Litchfield Saltwater Grille, 26 Commons Drive, Litchfield, kicks off its Derby party at 5 p.m. with a Southern-style bar menu (shrimp and grits, Knob Creek pulled pork sliders, fried chicken with white gravy, shrimp po'boy, bourbon pecan pie) and mint juleps. Prizes will be awarded for Best Hat. 860-567-4900, litchfieldsaltwatergrille.org.
Hot Tomato's, 1 Union Place, Hartford, hosts a Derby Day on its patio with food and drink specials and prizes for Best Hat. 860-249-5100, hottomatos.net.
Barley Vine, 182 Main Street, Bristol, offers Derby Day specials all day Saturday, with a hat contest. 860-589-0239, barleyvinect.com.