It was a sea of humanity, colors and motion in the Paddock area at Churchill downs. In this time-lapse, watch 1 hour of activity in 1 minute.
Video by Jeff Faughender

Extravagant hats, refreshing mint juleps, the strains of “My Old Kentucky Home” and heart-pounding horse races. It’s time to run for the roses at the 143rd Kentucky Derby in 2017.

Although central Arizona isn’t at all like Kentucky, these establishments are hosting parties Saturday, May 6, for “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” Party-goers will be decked out in colorful floral dresses, sharp spring suits and, of course, big hats.

Bourbon Steak

The chic Scottsdale restaurant hosts its sixth annual high-end Kentucky Derby soiree. The viewing party will come with a Southern-style meal by chef Jeremy McMillan, with dishes including hot browns, sweet tea-brined fried chicken, pickled shrimp toasts, Derby and Chess pie and red velvet cupcakes. Guests will also enjoy mint juleps, Bulleit bourbon tastings, live music, a photo booth, a Derby hat and fashion contest, and lawn games.

Details: 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Bourbon Steak, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 E. Princess Drive. $109. 480-513-6002,

Second Story Liquor Bar

The hip, modern Second Story Liquor Bar and restaurant hosts this third annual Bourbon & Bubbles. Included with general admission is a welcome cocktail and passed appetizers including deviled eggs, fried chicken, crawfish boil, Kentucky cornbread and pecan pie. Seating is first come, first served, and indoor seating is not guaranteed. VIP ticket holders will in addition receive bottomless Pendennis Club cocktails and mint juleps, and an indoor table. The party will also feature prizes and games, and is intimate so can only accommodate up to 44 people.

Details: Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Second Story Liquor Bar, 4166 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. $50 for general admission, $100 for VIP. 480-945-5555,

Padre Murphy’s

The West Valley Irish pub opens its doors at 8:30 a.m. to welcome Kentucky Derby fans. Breakfast will be served until 11:30 a.m., as well as specials on peach mimosas, mint juleps and other cocktails. The race will be shown on more than 80 TVs; the bar also will feature live off-track betting. A hat contest starts at 2 p.m., and prizes include $100 for happy hour at the bar, a $50 Gaston Jewelers store gift card and a bouquet of red roses.

Details: Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 6. Padre Murphy’s, 4338 W. Bell Road, Glendale. Free. 602-547-9406,

Turf Paradise


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Turf Paradise hosts the largest derby party in the state, with 8,000 expected to attend. Place your Kentucky Derby wagers and then watch the race live. The track also will host its own races, and attendees can enjoy live music and activities for kids. The fashion contest will award best ensemble, outrageous hats, best dressed “gents,” best dressed couples and “little bonnets” for kids 12 and younger. The first 5,000 paying guests will receive a commemorative derby glass. Various seating options are available and filling up quickly, so make reservations soon.

The Stella Artois Derby DayClub returns this year, produced by the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships. It’s an exclusive air-conditioned tent at Turf Paradise set alongside the rails, and this year will be four times bigger than previous years. Guests can purchase mint juleps, champagne, beer and cocktails at the bar, and watch the race on 65-inch televisions with betting machines nearby. There’s also a Hefeweizen Beer Garden. Reserved tables are available.

Details: Gates open at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, May 6. Turf Paradise, 1501 W. Bell Road, Phoenix. $5 grandstand admission, free for ages 16 and younger. $30-$180 for Party on the Rail tickets, $55-$80 for buffet options. Stella Artois Derby DayClub admission is $20 in advance, $25 the day of. Tables run from $300-$1,100. 602-375-6471,


The sleek gastropub hosts a big bash for the derby, featuring off-track betting, and contests for best hat and best dressed attendees featuring great prizes. The race will be shown on more than 30 screens. The pub will be adorned in traditional derby-themed decor and will be mixing up derby-themed cocktails made with Bulleit bourbon. The patio will also be expanded to provide mobile bars and additional seating.

Details: Doors open at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 6. The Bevvy, 4420 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale. Free. 480-525-9300,

Southern Rail


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

The hip southern restaurant in central Phoenix will feature $7 mint juleps and a special Derby Day menu created by chef Justin Beckett. Partyers are encouraged to wear Derby attire, and a costume contest will feature prizes for the best men’s and women’s hats, and best dressed overall. Reservations are recommended.

Details: 1-5 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Southern Rail, 300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix. Free. 602-200-0085,

Kelly’s at Southbridge

Upscale pub Kelly’s at Southbridge will host a relaxed Kentucky Derby party starting at 11 a.m. until the race is over. There will be $10 glasses of Mumm champagne and $7 mint juleps. Prizes will be awarded to patrons that are the best dressed and wearing the best hats.

Details: 11 a.m. Saturday, May 6. Kelly’s at Southbridge, 7117 E. Sixth Ave., Scottsdale. Free. 480-393-3205,

Lustre Rooftop Bar


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Put on your finest hats and swimsuits, and head to the sleek rooftop pool at the Hotel Palomar in downtown Phoenix. A DJ will spin from 1 to 5 p.m., and then again from 8 p.m. to midnight. The party will feature Maker’s Mark Derby cocktails, bottle service specials and additional screens to enjoy the Kentucky Derby.

Details: Pool opens at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 6. Lustre Rooftop Bar, 2 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. No cover. 480-478-1765,

Tom’s Tavern

The old-school downtown Phoenix restaurant will host a Kentucky Derby bar crawl, encouraging all participants to dress up. The crawl will start at noon at Tom’s Tavern, followed by Copper Blues at 12:45 p.m., 1:30 p.m. at Lustre Rooftop Bar, 2:15 p.m. at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, and end at The Park at 3 p.m. for the race viewing.

Details: Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Tom’s Tavern, 2 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Free. 602-257-1688,

Brick and Barley

The Tempe sports bar will host a Kentucky-themed party with games, contests and specials including $2 bourbon balls, $3 bacon bourbon popcorn and $5 mint juleps. Come dressed to impress.

Details: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Brick and Barley, 201 E. Baseline Road, Tempe. Free. 480-730-9800,

Peoria Pines Golf & Restaurant

Watch all of the races of the day including the Kentucky Derby. They will offer food and drink specials, and sell commemorative Kentucky Derby glasses at the bar. There will also be an off-track betting window opening at 8:30 a.m.

Details: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Peoria Pines Golf & Restaurant, 8411 N. 107th Ave., Peoria. Free. 623-972-1364,


Best events, shows, concerts this weekend in Phoenix

Read or Share this story: