New York

Where to Watch the Kentucky Derby in NYC

Steve McFarland
Steve McFarland
Steve McFarland

The Kentucky Derby is the world’s greatest sporting event for anyone feeling “meh” about sports. The race itself is the height of athleticism — competing thoroughbreds’ training regimens rival any Olympian’s and their jockey companions are in better shape than most of us could ever dream of. But, for spectators, the first Saturday in May is all about floppy hats and mint juleps.

Why watch a bunch of sweaty dudes chasing balls for hours when you can see majestic horses gallop for two heart-pounding minutes? For those of us outside of Churchill Downs, the Derby is more about the party than the race. Saturday, May 5 is made for fashion and bourbon. Bow ties > jerseys, and silver cups > bottles of Bud all day, every day. If you can’t make it to Louisville for the main event, Saratoga Springs is the next best place. And New York City is fine, too! Here are the best places to watch the Kentucky Derby in NYC this Derby de Cinco.

Steve McFarland
Steve McFarland
Steve McFarland

Brooklyn Derby at Greenwood Park

555 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn
4pm-8pm
Started 15 years ago by a Louisville transplant and his two New York roommates, Brooklyn Derby has grown from a small party with friends to one of the city’s most epic Derby celebrations. This year’s event is sponsored by Kentucky golden [liquid] child, Maker’s Mark, so you know it’s the real deal. Expect a four-hour open bar, DIY hat station, live music, and a living bottle-shaped wall of mint for fresh julep garnishes. Both you and your Instagram feed are guaranteed to get turnt. Tickets start at $80 and must be purchased in advance. Hop to it.

The Roof

124 West 57th Street, 29th floor
Starting at 1pm
The nauticalish lounge at the top of the Viceroy Central Park has the perfect level of yacht-swank to accommodate your big-ass hat. Southern jazz tunes will ring out all afternoon while guests will sample a series of down-home snacks like fried chicken and biscuit sliders, country ham deviled eggs, and fried pickles. Mint juleps start at $16. Bust out that seersucker — the best dressed Derby-goer will win a venue gift card. Reservations recommended.

The VNYL
The VNYL
The VNYL

The VNYL

100 Third Avenue
Brunch from 2-4pm
Evening party 5pm-10pm
Why not make a whole day of the most exciting two minutes in sports? The VNYL will kick off its celebration with a “formal” ‘70s racetrack-themed brunch before pivoting to party time. They’re trying to make memories, here, so stick to mandatory suits, dresses, and, most fastidiously, hard-bottomed shoes. (The venue, bless their hearts, provides sartorial inspo here. The bigger the hat, the closer to God, or something!) The specialty drink of the day is a “Julepirinha” — a mint julep and caipirinha combo with a chocolate twist. Catch all the horsey glory at 6:30pm sharp on a 30-foot projection screen. RSVP early for free admission.

Refinery Rooftop
Refinery Rooftop
Refinery Rooftop

Refinery Hotel

63 West 38th Street
3:30pm-7:30pm
Purportedly the “most unique and immersive Kentucky Derby celebration in NYC,” Refinery Hotel has raised the bar for Derby parties with prices to match. Spaces throughout the hotel will be fashioned after Churchill Downs — The Hat Box remains open to the public as an “infield experience,” Winnie’s Jazz Bar transforms into a ticket holders’ “Winner’s Circle,” and the Refinery Rooftop will become a poor man’s “Millionaires’ Row.” The $125 tickets include passed hors d’oeuvres, oyster bars, a four-hour open bar, a photo booth, a pocket square monogram station, a hat decorating station, “friendly wagering,” and a best dressed contest. And, in a nod to Cinco, expect a secret “margarita speakeasy” — location disclosed on arrival.
 

Courtesy of W New York
Courtesy of W New York
Courtesy of W New York

W New York – Times Square

1567 Broadway
Any time
It’s a classic NYC conundrum: you want to host a viewing party in your apartment, but you barely have enough space for you and your hedgehog. Hit Times Square’s very own living room — the bar at the W Hotel — where they’re adding juleps and margaritas to the menu. Cozy up with 179 of your new friends for an intimate banquette viewing experience and celebrate the winning pony under the bar’s disco ball.

Courtesy of Extra Fancy
Courtesy of Extra Fancy
Courtesy of Extra Fancy

Extra Fancy

302 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn
All day
Don’t be misled by the bar’s name: Extra Fancy’s viewing party will be one of New York’s chiller options. Kick it in the sunshine with icy Redemption mint juleps and outdoor TVs. This is one Derby-watching spot mercifully short on themes, but race day attire is welcome. Let’s be real — if you’re hanging out in Williamsburg, you already own a fedora.

Haven Rooftop
Haven Rooftop
Haven Rooftop

Haven Rooftop

132 West 47th Street
Starting at noon
Can’t decide between Kentucky and Mexico this May 5? Well good thing this town is big enough for the both of them! Haven Rooftop will host Derby and Cinco parties, because mixing bourbon and tequila is tops. Derby time starts at noon, complete with endless mint juleps and a big-hat contest. At 4pm, the fiesta begins, with ceviche, guacamole, quesadillas, and margaritas. Haven will screen the race on eight 55-inch TVs, and “Derby hat” is just a funny way of saying “sombrero.”Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.

Jenny Hart is a Brooklyn-based writer, cat mom, and karaoke enthusiast. Follow her on Instagram at @jennyjhart

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.