By Lori Melton
Spring is finally here, and race enthusiasts everywhere love to giddy up and get ready for the time-honored main event – the Kentucky Derby. If you’re planning to celebrate “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” there are plenty of places in the Motor City to raise your Mint Julep, or whisky and bourbon- filled glass in a proper salute on May 5 as you cheer your favorite horse on to a win. Check out these picks for some of the best bars in the Greater Detroit Area to watch this year’s Kentucky Derby.
23839 John R. Road
Hazel Park, MI 48030
Joebar is proudly hosting its second annual Kentucky Derby party on May 5 from 2 p.m. until midnight. This free, kid-friendly party includes live races on TV all day, Mint Juleps, spiked Sweet Tea, a daylong Southern style menu and more. Exciting bonus prizes will be given to attendees who wear seersucker suits and Derby hats to honor The Run for the Roses. Watch Joebar’s Facebook event page for additional impending details.
Green Dot Stables
2200 West Layfayette
Detroit, MI 48216
This horse-themed restaurant and bar is a shoe-in for a perfect Derby Day watching party. Pair a famous Coney Dog, Buffalo Chicken, Fried Bologna, or slider of your choice with delicious Truffle Fries and enjoy $3 cocktails like Green Dot’s signature Mint Julep, Moscow Mule (Ginger Beer, Lime, Vodka), Horse’s Neck (Brandy, Ginger Ale, Bitters, Lemon), $2 bottles and a rotating draft menu while you watch the race on TV.
1408 E. Fisher Service
This premier Eastern Market sports bar is a popular Motor City Game Day venue for all major sporting events. Tune into the race on Derby Day at Thomas Magee’s where you can sip or slug a Mint Julep, enjoy your favorite bourbon or whiskey and soak in the cheerful ambiance on the big day. Daily Happy Hour from 4-7 p.m. features $2.00 Domestic Bottles, $3.00 Well Drinks and $3.00 Brooklyn Summer Ale.
419 Monroe Ave.
Located in the heart of Greektown, Firebird Tavern is a warm, upscale tavern that has earned an acclaimed reputation as a beloved neighborhood joint. The historic building was constructed in the early 1880s and restored to retain its handcrafted charm, while outfitting it with modern amenities like Wi-Fi and multiple flatscreen TVs. Firebird honors the Kentucky Derby each year by serving a special barrel of Woodford Reserve. A twist on the traditional Mint Julep called a Bourbon Smash will also be served on race day which features a savory blend of Woodford Reserve II, spiced pear, soda, and ginger beer.
Ciccarelli’s 22 Sports Bar
408 W. Congress St.
Detroit, MI 48226
Voted Metro Detroit’s Best Sports Bar, Ciccarelli’s 22 Sports Bar is owned and operated by former Detroit Red Wings hockey player Dino Ciccarelli. Live music plays on weekends and Ciccarelli’s joins in Kentucky Derby festivities by showing the race on multiple flatscreen TVs, hosting a hat contest, serving up tasty pizza, wings, a wide array of apps and plenty of Mint Juleps, bourbon, whisky, and cocktails of your choice. Race Day enthusiasts are sure to enjoy this beloved, vibrant Motor City hangout.
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