Okay, spring is here for sure and tomorrow’s the first big day to celebrate. My daughter’s been giving an annual Derby party for some years now, and Kentucky ain’t got nothin’ on us. Everybody loves dressing up in outrageous hats and fancy duds, drinking champagne, juleps and whatever, and picking horses by lottery.
But whether you study racing stats and place big bets, or you just love looking at those gorgeous horses, the Kentucky Derby is always an excellent excuse to go out and imbibe and eat with friends. And in Chicago there’s never a shortage of places to do that. Here are a few to consider for your drinking and dining pleasure:
Brando’s Speakeasy & The Essaness Room, 343 S Dearborn St., Monday, May 1 through Saturday, May 6, from 3pm: $6 Mint Juleps and FREE fried chicken. on Derby Day (May 6) beginning at 6pm (while supplies last).
Commonwealth Tavern Roscoe Village, 2000 W. Roscoe St., Saturday, May 6, open at 10am, drink specials $2, $4 and $6 Win Place Show special all day featuring $2 14-ounce Miller Lite drafts, $4 Blue Moon pints and $6 Buffalo Trace Mint Juleps. $7 to $14 food specials include a Kentucky Hot Brown (smoked turkey, bacon, tomato, parmesan, beer cheese, sourdough; $14). Watch the race on eight TVs including a 70-inch plasma.
Easy Bar, 1944 W. Division St., Saturday, May 6, from 3pm, $8 cocktail specials and a special Basil Mint Julep for $10 all day (while supplies last). Watch live coverage on TV.
Estelle’s, 2013 W. North Ave., Saturday, May 6, open at 5pm, $8 Mint Juleps. Plus get $1 off your first drink if you’re wearing a derby hat.
Kanela Breakfast Club, Saturday, May 6 from 7am to 3pm, $6 Mint Juleps and complimentary starters. Derby attire gets you a complimentary starter to share.* Kanela’s starter options include the Kanela Roll, Monkey Bread, Loukoumades, Chia Seed Pudding, Potato Pancakes, Mac and Cheese, Greek Yogurt, and Steel Cut Oatmeal. Locations – Andersonville: 5413 N. Clark St., Lakeview: 3231 N. Clark St; Old Town: 1552 N. Wells St.; Streeterville: 502 E. Illinois; Wicker Park: 1048 N. Milwaukee Ave. *Parties of two or more only. One per table.
Remedy Bar, 1910 N. Milwaukee, Saturday, May 6, from 4pm, $8 to $9 drink specials. $8 Maker’s Mark Mint Juleps as well as complimentary Kentucky Burgoo (traditional stew). Anyone dressed in derby hats or attire will receive $1 off drinks. Sound on!
Roanoke Restaurant, 135 W. Madison St. Saturday, May 6, from 10am. $18 to $22 food specials including a Hot Brown (rotisserie turkey, thick sliced house cured bacon, hearth toasted brioche, veal demi glaze, fried egg), Burgoo (confit of duck, rotisserie pork shoulder, rotisserie chicken, lima bean puree, wilted red cabbage, roast potatoes, Cipollini onions, carrots, tomato sauce and beef broth), Country Ham Sliders (house made buttermilk biscuits served with thick sliced true Southern-style country ham, oregano and orange butter, blackberry country mustard) as well as individual Bourbon Pecan Pies.
Tavern On Little Fort, 4128 N. Lincoln Ave., $7 Buffalo Trace Mint Juleps and $6 Kentucky Mules (Moscow Mule with bourbon). TVs in the bar and beer garden (weather permitting) with the sound on. “Best Derby Hat” contest. Large groups can book parties in the Beer Garden which accommodates up to 68 guests.
aliveOne, 2683 N Halsted St., Halloween Happy Hour and Specials, Monday, October 31 – $4 to $5 specials. Celebrate Halloween with half-off everything happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm Other festive specials include $4 Oktoberfest beers, $4 pumpkin beers, and a $5 ‘Houdini’ cocktail. And FREE pool all night.
Caffè Umbria, 346 N Clark St. in River North, offers Fall Hot Chocolate. The Cioccolata Calda, an Italian version of traditional hot chocolate, includes fine Italian Pernigotti cocoa blended with milk and sugar resulting in a rich, creamy and intense indulgence. The $3.25 drink is perfect option when you want a sweet that’s not candy.
Easy Bar, 1944 W. Division St., hosts new Belgium tap takeover and pumpkin carving. Friday, October 28. Free admission; $4 to $6 beers. Beginning at 7:30 pm Limited pumpkins and carving tools for pumpkin carving on the patio (weather permitting). Featured New Belgium beers will include Le Terroir (sour), Fruit Fly (kettle sour), Pumpkick (seasonal), Blue Paddle (pils), and Spiced Strong Dark Ale, a New Belgium collaboration with Orval’s Anne-Françoise.
Kanela Breakfast Club offers a Halloween Pancake Special Friday, October 28 through Monday, October 31 – $12 pumpkin pancakes with cream cheese icing. Num! Get ‘em at Kanela locations in Andersonville, Lakeview, Old Town, Streeterville and Wicker Park.
Remedy Bar, 1910 North Milwaukee Ave. (recently opened at the border of Bucktown and Logan Square), Pumpkin Carving Event and Halloween Specials Monday, October 17 and Monday, October 31, – $4 drink specials.
Guests will receive a pumpkin, carving tools, and enjoy $4 pumpkin beers and pumpkin ciders like Ace Pumpkin Cider from 8 – 10 pm. On Halloween itself, Monday, October 31, all draft beers $4 from 4 pm to 4 am
Tavern on Little Fort, 4128 North Lincoln Ave., fall specials from Friday, October 28 through Monday, October 31 – $8 cider cocktails like Bourbon Cider Mule, Bulleit Bourbon, apple cider, ginger beer, sour mix, garnished with an apple peel, Spiced Hard Cider, Captain Morgan, apple cider, lemon juice, garnished with a cinnamon stick and apple peel, Cider Ball, Fireball Whisky, Right Bee Cider, garnished with a cherry.