By Linda Cameron

NFL, MLB, NASCAR, PGA and NBA are not the only games sports lovers watch. The annual Kentucky Derby draws just as many viewers. Why and why not? For years, the amazing horse race at Churchill Downs has coaxed our inner most fashionable. Ladies don flowered hats, spring suits and soft organdy. Gentlemen attend the Derby in top hats and cool seersucker,  offsetting spring wear formality with high quality cigars. The Derby is an elegant and often black tie affair celebrated with mint juleps. If you can’t make it to Kentucky’s Churchill Downs, here are local bar venues where, from the comfort of HDTV, you can watch the beautiful horses run for the roses. This link takes you to the broadcast channel, date and time.

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Birch’s On The Lake 
1310 Wayzata Blvd.
Long Lake, MN 55356
(952) 473-7373

This is the second anniversary of the Kentucky Derby fest at Birch’s. At last year’s gala, tickets sold out so reserve yours early through Eventbrite. Event details are on the Birch’s events calendar. The afternoon and evening won’t merely promise fun and excitement. The day will deliver live bluegrass music, a brunch buffet, raw bar, lots of mint julep, contests, dancing and a full screen telecast of the celebratory Churchill Downs horse race. The event will also commemorate Cinco De Mayo.

Joe Senser’s Sports Bar
4217 American Blvd. W.
BloomingtonMN 55437
(952) 835-1191

At this expansive and elaborate sports bar, you can always get your game on. Every major league sport you can name can be watched in Bloomington or Roseville. Both locations are a stretch away from MOA. With huge HDTV screens and surround sound, Joe Senser’s would be a grand spot for Kentucky Derby telecasting. You can confirm if the sports bars will air a May 5th broadcast. If a package or channel is available, you’re in luck.

Brit’s Pub
1110 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN
(612) 332-3908

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A unique sports bar and a Twin Cities UK gem, Brit’s Pub has hosted a number of sporting events, including the 2016 Kentucky Derby festivity. In the UK, equestrian sports have been a historic favorite. The grandeur of the Kentucky Derby closely matches the UK culture of spectator horse racing. Hopefully, Brit’s will have another Derby party and telecast on May 5. Watch its event calendar or contact the pub.

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The Loop
318 1st Ave., SW
Rochester, MN 55902
(507) 226-8644

Ah, The Loop! With a multitude of flat screen TVs and lots of open space, any of the locations in Minneapolis, Rochester, or St. Louis Park’s West End are perfect for parties and sports events such as the Kentucky Derby. If you want to dodge the crowds in Minneapolis, Rochester might be the best place. In Rochester, the Loop is only a few blocks from the Mayo Clinic. The drink menu varies from Loop to Loop. But the food is always local and terrific. In addition to watching the Kentucky Derby on wide flat screens, you can also do a mojito or margarita toast to Cinco de Mayo.

Blue Line Sports Bar And Grill
1004 Sunridge Dr.
St. Cloud, MN 56301
(320) 281-3911

This sports bar, with a second location in Sartell, is a bright spot in St. Cloud. You can watch sports or join a bean bag or golf league. If you’re a sports spectator who wants a community pub setting, either St. Cloud or Sartell might be the place to watch the Kentucky Derby. Although you won’t find mint juleps here, Blue Line Sports Bar has drink specials and plenty of beer and burgers. Perhaps mint julep will be on the drinks menu for Kentucky Derby day. With tacos, quesadillas, fajita wraps and nachos also on the menu, you might combine food and a drink special to commemorate Cinco de Mayo as you watch the Churchill Downs “race for the roses” on May 5.

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Related: MNfusion: Celebrate Cinco De Mayo & Kentucky Derby In The Twin Cities