Derby Time in Louisville

| May 4, 2011

There’s nothing quite like Derby time. The air is buzzing with energy, and the smell of fresh-cut grass reminds us all why we love living in the Bluegrass State. And for the fastest two minutes in sports, all eyes are on us.

For those who are trackside vets, this Derby City roundup will be just a glimpse into your calendar for the coming weekend. But for Oaks and Derby newbies, prepare for the time of your life (and bring flip-flops).

There’s nothing quite like discovering why we’ve been coined the land of beautiful horses and fast women than by doing it like the locals do. Here’s how:

21c Museum Hotel

21c Museum Hotel

Where to stay:

21c Museum Hotel

If you haven’t already booked your hotel arrangements, you might as well pick up a tent on your way in because everywhere will be booked, especially 21c Museum Hotel, which has been voted the No. 1 hotel in the U.S. twice by Conde Nast readers.

And why not? Music royals such as Lady Gaga and Elton John both stayed at 21c when they performed this year at the KFC Yum! Center, and “Project Runway” winner Christian Siriano did too.

Need any more proof 21c is a hotspot you’ll want to frequent? Make sure to bring your best jammies – you never know when there will be a celeb sighting in the lobby.

21c Museum Hotel
700 W. Main St.

Jack Fry's

Jack Fry's

Oaks eve eats:

Jack Fry’s

For many locals, enjoying the calm before the storm on Thursday night before Oaks has become somewhat of a last supper before the weekend gets underway – and where best to do this? A restaurant as old as the Derby tradition itself, Jack Fry’s.

Jack Fry turned his love for the ponies and gambling into a “sportsmen speak easy,” and the legend still lives on. This Louisville favorite is the perfect solace before the chaos of the track. Enjoy elegant dining, the best food Louisville has to offer and an upscale atmosphere to really get you in the mood for the glitz and glamour you’re sure to revel in at the track.

Definitely call for a reservation and absolutely dress to impress.

Jack Fry’s
1007 Bardstown Rd.

Derby eve:

Barnstable Brown Gala

You know what they say: “When in Rome …”

It is a hard feat for anyone to take attention from Churchill Downs during Derby weekend, but one famous driveway does just that. For years, all eyes have been on Tricia Barnstable Brown and Priscilla Barnstable as they throw their annual Derby Eve gala. This much anticipated event is a testament for how Louisville throws a party. Couldn’t get “your people” to score you a ticket this year? No worries.

The public is welcome to star gaze as celebs make the walk up her driveway turned red carpet.

Rumor has it some pretty A-list stars will make that walk this year, so take your kids if you’ve brought them (just bring ear plugs) because teen heartthrobs Nick and Kevin Jonas will make their Barnstable Brown debut. You also might spot model Marissa Miller (a Derby alum) and Derby Festival guest Tracy Morgan.

Keep an eye out for our very own Voice-Tribune owners as they will have some pretty interesting guests of their own.

Barnstable Brown Gala
1700 Spring Drive

Jeff Roby's

Jeff Roby's

Late Night Treats

After a long day, one might need to treat themselves to a no fuss dining experience, and where better to do it than an old fourth meal favorite – White Castle.

This blast from the past attracts a little more than just late-night cravings, it just so happens to be one of Lori Kommor’s favorite post-track eateries and celebs have been known to make the “WC Steakhouse” one of their stops also. One year, Jerry O’Connell paid a little visit to the slider maker and ended up leaving the cashier a $100 tip, not bad after a day of gambling.

High heels and hamburger’s not your thing?

Try a little different steak house and grab a cab over to legendary Jeff Ruby’s. This is a prime hot spot for celeb sightings and also the scene of the infamous booting of OJ Simpson (which made national headlines) by namesake owner Jeff Ruby.

White Castle
105 East Market Street

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse
325 N. Fourth St.

Lynn's Paradise Cafe

Lynn's Paradise Cafe

Libations Cure:

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe

For the day after Derby weekend, there is only one place to nurse your headache. Lynn’s Paradise Cafe has been a Louisville stable for breakfast and brunch for years. One look at the wacky decor will take your mind off whatever is ailing you. Too many mint juleps or maybe an empty wallet after betting? Whatever it is, Lynn’s has the remedy.

A reservation is the only sure bet to getting a table at Lynn’s, which was featured on The Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe
984 Barret Avenue

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Category: Out & About

About the Author (Author Profile)

Lauren DePaso
Voice-Tribune Staff Writer Lauren DePaso enjoys being a tourist in her own city, exploring the nightlife and cheering on the Cards. A Louisville native, she currently resides in St. Matthews.

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