Deep in the heart of Lexington sits a boutique racetrack that serves up summer suppers in the hills of bluegrass country. Surrounded by rolling acres of green grass and knotty old Sycamore trees, Keeneland’s Paddock Dinner Series offers visitors an experience that’s quintessentially southern with abundant local food, warm hospitality and a setting that’s like no other.
For those who are in the market for an event space that’s impressive, easy to customize and rich with Kentucky history, Keeneland is home to a fully operating racetrack, a cool clubhouse, an old barn, and so much more. Hop on the saddle and let’s head down south where the breeze blows soft and refreshing cocktails are always a good idea.
The historic grounds of Keeneland date back to the days of the Great Depression, when this impressive property was built by volunteers looking to create a new local racetrack. Work began in the 1930s and Keeneland opened to weekend races and picnics alongside the tracks. Fast forward to today and the place is spread over 1,200 acres of beautiful gardens and limestone structures. The various event spaces on-site bring in a light, airy feel with a natural equestrian vibe. The racetrack is still fully operating, with horses taking their morning workout every day.
Whether you’re planning a small get together of friends, a big family reunion, a wedding, or a corporate function, there are a ton of options for group gatherings of all sizes at Keeneland. In fact, if you wanted to host multiple days’ worth of events, you could easily venue hop within the property and have each event feel completely different from the next.
The property’s historic German-style mansion, Keene Place, dates back to 1806 and can be rented for events seeking a comfortable, homey vibe. A lively spot for cocktails or a ceremony, there’s space both indoors and out at the clubhouse, set just along the racetrack. If you’re planning something epic, check out the sales arena where you can party with up to 700 folks. There’s also a gorgeous rustic barn that’s fit for a fete of up to 800 guests, an old library and tons of other gems around the property. Depending what you’re planning, you can customize Keeneland to work within your event’s scope. We’re keen on embracing the equestrian vibe.
Executive Chef Marc Therrien prepares food that’s locally sourced and thoughtfully prepared, making it easy to customize for groups of any size. You might find wood fired grilled peaches, farmhouse ale roasted chicken, and warm focaccia on your dinner menu. Or you might opt for a cocktail style event with tray passed bourbon soy smoked deviled eggs and house country ale smoked bacon. Wash it down with a spiced brown sugar old fashioned and you’ll be in hog heaven. Southern? Yep. Delicious? That too.
Keep an eye out for more to come this summer from the Keeneland crew. Their next dinner is set to take place on July 26 and you won’t want to miss this beautiful night of craft cocktails and delicious local fare served in an unforgettable setting with live music on the sprawling green. Does Kentucky living get any better than this? We think not.
Book your event at Keeneland here →
Photography: The Malicotes | Decor: Refined Social | Rentals: Bryants Rent-all | Musicians: Ben Lacy