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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 05/ 1/2008

Run for the Roses

By Julia Beizer

The Nightlife Agenda boys already told you about the Round Robin Bar's Bonnets and Bow-Ties Kentucky Derby Party, which is sure to offer some of the best mint juleps in town. But we also wanted to give some love to the more wallet-friendly Derby parties. Post time is 6:04 p.m. Saturday, so you'll want to be saddled up at one of these bars well before then.

Both of Bourbon's locations will be celebrating in style this Saturday. "This is like a holiday for us," said general manager Steve King. He isn't kidding. The bar special ordered a barrel of six-year-old Kentucky bourbon that they have been infusing with mint for 33 days. That bourbon will be mixed into $8 mint juleps, and bar patrons can sample complimentary hors d'oeuvres like mini Kentucky hot browns, cucumber sandwiches and cherry tomatoes stuffed with crab. Black-Eyed Susans and Belmont Breezes, the signature drinks of the other races in the Triple Crown, will be available for $8. Festivities get started around 4 p.m.

Crystal City Sports Pub
A little enthusiasm is necessary in the bar biz, and John Finlay, one of the Crystal City Sports Pub owners, has got it in spades. While boasting about the laboratory of large television screens on the bar's third level, Finlay also touted "a sound system that will let you hear the horses thundering across the finish line." Mint juleps, swirled with Jim Beam Black, cost $5.50, and a menu featuring Kentucky dishes like hot browns and derby pie is also in the works. Because horse racing is often synonymous with ridiculous hats, the pub pokes fun at the cranial tradition with a hat contest. Men and women are both encouraged to enter. The party officially starts when coverage does, at 4 p.m.

Ventnor's Sports Cafe
Owner Scott Auslander knows a thing or two about Adams Morgan bar patrons, and it's that they usually show up just in the nick of time. "If the game's at 6, they get there at 5:40," he says. His bar is trying to entice people into spending a bit more time at the bar before the race kicks off. On the weekends, the bar offers brunch until 5 p.m., with a $14 special for all-you-can-drink mimosas and bloody Mary's. On Derby Day, mint juleps are $5.

It would be unbecoming of a Going Out Guru to suggest that you stay at home and throw a Derby party of your own, but should you choose to go that route, the Food Section's Spirits columnist has a mint julep recipe for you.


By Julia Beizer  | May 1, 2008; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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