Great brunches shouldn’t have to end the same way every time. In fact, we’d prefer brunch be a little more like the the DVD version of Clue the Movie, where you get to pick one of three alternate endings, each with different scenarios of who committed the crime and how they did it. We’re not suggesting you bring a candlestick or a wrench to brunch, but there should be more options than just splitting the bill and going your separate ways. Like finding a bar nearby to day drink.
Use this guide as your Dr. Seuss-named roadmap to the best places to keep the fun going during and after brunch.
It’s very hard not to get a little buzzed when you eat Caribbean brunch at Pearl’s in Williamsburg. Much like trying not to head bob when the song “What Is Love” comes on. It’s just what your body wants to do, and it’s time to accept that. There’s a great outdoor space for you and your very fun-loving friends to enjoy Caribbean-style sandwiches, fried-shark, and of course, frozen cocktails.
After Pearl’s, take a short walk to this huge German beer hall. You’ll hear live polka music, smell brats cooking, and end up saying “prost” with a bunch of strangers at a long wooden table like you’re in Europe in the 1800’s.
Supper’s cash-only brunch has a three-for-one drink deal, and that’s reason enough to include it on this list. But they also have the kind of brunch food you won’t find at places with drink specials that give you three times as many beverages as you paid for, like a fennel and fontina omelette and grilled polenta with prosciutto and poached eggs.
You could throw an egg from the entrance of Supper and it would probably land pretty close to Boulton and Watt. But don’t say that to your friends once you’ve already started drinking. because someone might get hurt or yolky. There are a bunch of bars in this part of the East Village, but this one is sure to have lots of people in it doing something similar to your group. They also have $6 sangria, bloody marys, and mimosas until 4pm, plus TVs that they hide when there aren’t big games on. So use that information to either avoid or flock to this place.
For a day of drinking and eating and drinking again in Astoria, the Creole brunch at Sugar Freak is just about the best you can do. Especially if your friend group usually makes claims about going to NOLA for Mardi Gras. This will be nowhere near the same as the real thing, but they do have cake for breakfast and a seafood boil bloody mary that comes with andouille sausage, corn on the cob, and crawfish tails so you can close your eyes and pretend.
After you eat brunch at Sugar Freak, you’ll probably need to sit for a bit, and then you’ll be ready to stand and make the two-block trek to Sweet Afton. At which point you’ll order another drink and probably need to sit again. Luckily, Sweet Afton’s patio is the kind of place where you’ll want to day drink (charming lights, open air, etc) and also has enough seats to rest your 60% alcohol and 40% maple syrup body.
Houdini Kitchen Laboratory is an industrial-looking pizza place on the border of Ridgewood and Bushwick with solid Neapolitan pies. They don’t officially have a brunch menu, but they start serving their pizzas and their full drinks list at noon on the weekends. This is a good choice for brunch with a big group that doesn’t actually feel that brunchy. It’s also a good choice because of its proximity to Nowadays, a bar very much worth traveling on the L train for.
After pizza, bring your crew to Nowadays, a huge indoor-outdoor bar where you can hang out on colorful picnic tables in the sun and listen to music that some people would call “chill.” This place is giant, with an additional indoor area that’s open all-year and has some great dancing and evening programming like space-themed listening parties, if you’re able to keep your eyes open until then.
Arguably the most “fun!“ combination on our list, the Bogota-Royal Palms DB12P is ideal for a group where someone will, at one point during the course of the day, try to stand on a chair. Bogota is colorful, charmingly over-decorated, and serves a Colombian brunch that comes with food you’d actually want to eat even if you weren’t drinking. The boozy option is $20 per person where they have a Bloody Mary made with tequila called Bloody Maria.
Once you’ve successfully lured Cecilia down from her chair, walk a few blocks to Royal Palms and play some shuffleboard. People love to day-drink here so we’d suggest making a reservation ahead of time if you have a big group. Otherwise, time your drunk level to ensure that you have the energy for a game, and this place will be very enjoyable.
The fact that most bottomless deals come with awful food just feels like getting a slap on the wrist for having a really good time. This is a charming wine bar in Hell’s Kitchen that has the kind of food you’d normally order if you weren’t drinking as many screwdrivers, moscow mules, bellinis, mimosas, and bloody marys as you can over the course of 90 minutes. It’s a small place, so we’d recommend making a reservation if you’re bringing a group.
As Is is a bit sleeker-looking than Dianne and Elisabeth, but you can think of this as steadily getting more sophisticated as you drink, instead of less. This is a good choice for an indoor hang with friends and will excite all of the people in your life who get craft brewery and natural winery newsletters in their inboxes.
Sotto 13’s boozy deal is called “social brunch,” which is exactly how you should recap the day of drinking to your coworkers when they perform the obligatory questioning on Monday. For $35 a person, you get a family-style meal with breakfast pizza, brunch entrees, and multiple carafes of mimosas, bloody marys, or prosecco. The whole table has to do it, but that shouldn’t be a hard sell.
Walk three blocks to The Happiest Hour for part two of your West Village day. It’s vaguely tropical with knick knack decorations on the shelves that you’ll have to stop your drunkest friend from taking. And, for when you inevitably want to eat more food, there’s an excellent burger.
Earl’s Beer and Cheese is a dive bar (think UES divey, not downtown divey) that also happens to be an excellent place for brunch - they have $8 mimosas, and affordable and cheese-oriented American food. If you’re looking for a day of taking bright pictures that capture the adorable moments from your bottomless brunch misadventures, please keep scrolling. But that’s why we like it here.
The Rochard is a craft beer bar that’s very close to Earl’s and has all of their taps attached to an old (non-functional) bathtub. They do Happy Hour on Sundays starting at 4pm and there are plenty of booths where your friends can get in fights over a who gets to be Colonel Mustard in your game of Clue.
From one patio to another, save this combo for when it’s warm enough to warrant dressing like the women on the posters in Sexy Taco Dirty Cash while you hold a frozen cocktail. This bar / beer garden is just a few blocks away and serves pitchers of rum and whiskey punch.
Rintintin is a bright brunch spot on Spring Street in Soho that’s pleasant enough for your friends to spend time in, but not too nice for your friends to feel weird about letting a little loose in. It’s usually crowded, but they take reservations (if you’re a planner) and have seats at the bar while you wait for a table (if you’re not). This place has a bar-feel and decent Mediterranean food like baba ganoush or a burger that comes on on pita.
Aside from being a great place to drink cocktails during the day, Mother’s Ruin also happens to be right around the corner from RinTinTin. Just know that there isn’t a ton of seating, but you can always stand while you yell about your favorite part of the movie Ratatouille.