Editors' pick

Bonnets and Bowties Kentucky Derby Party


Editorial Review

The area's biggest and classiest Kentucky Derby affair is in the Willard's Round Robin Bar, which goes all-out for the occasion. Men dress in summer suits with extravagant bow ties, women wear enormous, elaborately decorated hats, and prizes are awarded for the best of each. The crowd is a little older than at other bar events, and everyone sings along to "My Old Kentucky Home" and cheers the call to the post.

The $75 ticket includes a full Kentucky buffet of sandwiches, potato salads, coleslaw and derby pie (a pecan-and-chocolate concoction), plus two of the area's best mint juleps, served in the same commemorative Kentucky Derby glassware that you'd get at Churchill Downs. (The hotel has a special connection to the julep: It was on this site in the 1850s that Sen. Henry Clay introduced the proper julep to Washington: bourbon, mint leaves, sugar, ice and a bit of branch water.

-- Fritz Hahn