By Jessica Wasik
The 2018 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 5. While there’s no place quite like Churchill Downs to watch the racing, Pittsburgh’s many sports bars and pubs offer just as much fun and excitement. With solid menus of bar bites and cocktails that rival those of Kentucky’s, you won’t be disappointed by the many options you’ll find right in the heart of Pittsburgh. Cheer on your favorite jockeys and place your race bets at one of these five bars considered the best in Pittsburgh to catch this year’s Kentucky Derby action.
Carmella’s Plates & Pints
1908 E. Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
The mint julep has been among the signature drinks of the Kentucky Derby for decades, much like it’s been for Carmella’s Plates & Pints. Regulars praise its mint julep as a classic concoction that is perfectly spot with its combination of Bulleit, mint and sugar. A large TV sits above the bar providing a prime viewing spot for cheering on your racehorse picks. Carmella’s Plates & Pints is located in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood on East Carson Street.
212 Racetrack Road
Washington, PA 15301
Parlay Lounge has everything you can want for your Kentucky Derby watch party, including 11 massive 55″ TVs. Catch all the action and cheer on your favorite jockeys while enjoying the lounge’s huge selection of cocktails, wine and beer that pair perfectly with its horse racing-themed menu that highlights jockey handhelds and starting line appetizers. If you’re feeling lucky, the Meadows Racetrack and Casino are just feet away. Find Parlay Lounge inside the Hyatt Place Pittsburgh South on Racetrack Road in Washington.
1828 E. Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
For those who prefer whiskey or bourbon to mint juleps, Piper’s Pub is a great option for drinks and derby-viewing. Although the bar is geared primarily to soccer fans, the many large screen TVs situated throughout offer prime views of the races. Its “drinking partners” menu offers a fine selection of Scottish snacks with a hint of American flair, such as Three Cheese Arancini, pub salads and vegan and gluten free choices. Visit Piper’s Pub on East Carson Street in Pittsburgh’s historic South Side.
Cioppino Restaurant and Cigar Bar
2350 Railroad St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Considered by many to be a hidden gem in the city’s Strip District is Cioppino Restaurant and Cigar Bar. If you’re looking for the opportunity to dress up in your fancy Kentucky Derby attire, you’ll appreciate the upscale ambiance and other amenities that give this bar and restaurant combination a fun flair for watching the races. Place your bets with your friends and celebrate your win over cigars with the guys or grab your gal pals and make reservations at the restaurant for post-race dinner reservations.
The Clubhouse Gibsonia
5301 Ranalli Drive and Route 8
Gibsonia, PA 15044
If a clear view of the races from anywhere in the bar is your top priority, you’ll want to head to the Clubhouse Gibsonia. No matter where you find yourself seated, you won’t miss a second of the Kentucky Derby thanks to the countless bars positioned throughout the bar and restaurant. Despite its marketing as a family friendly hangout, the bar boasts a strong menu of drinks and bar bites. The Clubhouse Gibsonia is conveniently located on Ranalli Dr. near Route 8 and the Pennsylvania turnpike.
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