The legendary 21 Club in New York City is famed for its jockey statues lining its front steps, so of course, what better place to celebrate the Kentucky Derby? The club first opened in 1922 and is now part of Belmond (formerly the Orient-Express group). The statues date back to the 1930s when well-heeled patrons with their own thoroughbred racing stables—such as the Vanderbilts, Mellons and Phipps families—gifted them to their favorite watering hole.
The old school eatery, which requires a jacket for gentlemen, and once turned away Bill Gates for wearing sneakers, has long been a power-lunch favorite for Manhattan’s movers and shakers. This season the menu is getting a refresh courtesy of new executive chef Sylvain Delpique, formerly of Fishtail by David Burke.
For Derby Day on May 3, 21 is hosting its largest celebration ever, taking over the landmark space’s first floor cocktail lounge and bar room. Delpique has created a special menu of Kentucky-inspired small plates including Cornmeal Fried Oysters with Remoulade, Bourbon Ham on Biscuits, Shrimp and Grits, Mini Hot Browns, and a Mini Derby Pecan Pie.
Mint Juleps will of course be offered in traditional silver stirrup cups, as well as a limited edition 21 Triple Crown cocktail. The delectable punch features all the key ingredients of traditional race day drinks including bourbon, Mount Gay rum, Harvey’s Bristol cream sherry, splashes of orange juice, cranberry juice, mint, simple syrup, and Peychaud’s Bitters. The Derby favorite this year is California Chrome, who will bring a four-race winning streak to Louisville.