These days, the phrase “Let’s get brunch” is basically a euphemism for “Let’s get drunk before noon.” People be lovin' brunch, amiright? It’s a Bacchanalian breakfast celebration that doubles as an excuse to mainline mimosas and stuff bacon into foods where it does not belong.
The brunch zeitgeist of the new millennium is real. There are mood boards dedicated to what to wear to brunch, restaurants with strictly brunch menus, brunch-only Instagram feeds (@bitcheswhobrunch, @brunchboys) and we have an entire event devoted to it (Brunched, which took place June 23 @ the American Sign Museum).
Why do Americans love a meal that doubles as breakfast and lunch and basically turns into an ongoing commitment to day drinking? Is it part of the self-care indulgence movement? A genius marketing campaign by egg companies or the avocado illuminati? Whatever the reason, our country is literally obsessed with brunch, so CityBeat dining writers made a list of their favorite places to drink and dine on the weekends for all types of moods. Here are nine of our favorite drinking destinations. Find more places to brunch here.
Brunch: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
If there’s a group of Americans who has a real laid-back laissez faire attitude toward the weekend, it’s our Creole cousins down South in New Orleans. And BrewRiver’s brunch menu (and the restaurant’s entire vibe, actually) is a nod to NOLA, with dishes like bacon-infused cake donuts (think porky and powder-sugared beignets), barbecue Gulf shrimp and Weisenberger grits and creole poutine, with house-smoked chicken-and-sausage gumbo and local cheese curds over fries, topped with two eggs. Chef Michael Shields trained under Emeril Lagasse, so he’s not afraid to kick it up notch, especially with $20 bottomless mimosas and strong cocktails like a Hurraine and Sazerac. Live music adds to the Bourbon Street vibe on Sundays. Must Try: Eggs Sardou. This Creole dish is a kind of modified eggs benedict, with poached eggs, artichoke hearts, creamed spinach and sourdough toast points covered in a bernaise sauce laced with beer. 2062 Riverside Drive, East End, brewrivergastropub.com.
Brunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
We’re sticking this under "drinking destinations" because The Comet is generally considered a bar first — one with big-ass burritos, yes, but a bar nonetheless. Though its Sunday brunch menu changes weekly, it has some of the hippest dishes in the city — like shakshuka with poached eggs and feta in a Moroccan-style tomato and pepper stew; eggs Florentine; and a crepe cake with orange crepes, pastry cream, toffee sauce and berries. There’s even a ruby red grapefruit brûlée with toasted pistachio for dessert. A full bar and one of the city’s best beer selections are available to accompany anything you pick. Must Try: Whatever’s new that week. Could be anything from a spicy buttermilk fried catfish po’boy to a Monte Cristo sandwich or shrimp and mango ceviche. Surprise yourself! 4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, cometbar.com.
Brunch: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
We’ve got three words for you: bloody mary bar. This locally focused café’s build-your-own bloody mary bar features two tomato bases — mild and spicy — to which you can add accoutrement such as olives, pickled red peppers, bacon, citrus and more than a dozen hot sauces. Complement your cocktail with Southern eggs benedict with grilled bologna and fried green tomato or an Allen Brothers beef burger topped with cheddar, bourbon-bacon jam and an egg. Must Try: The Grilled Bologna sandwich. Bologna is a thing here, and on this sandwich, a German version of the lunch meat is grilled with aged cheddar cheese, fried egg, tobacco onion and moustarde aioli on a Sixteen Bricks brioche bun. It’s like middle-school lunch, but a whole lot better. 6440 Cin-Day Road, Liberty Township, cozyscafeandpub.com.
Hang Over Easy
Brunch: 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Hang Over Easy is in a perpetual state of brunch, offering breakfast and lunch options alongside a full bar every day of the week. Filling a breakfast void in Corryville, it now plays host to many young University of Cincinnati students experiencing their first ever hangover (they grow up so fast!). The menu doesn’t take any radical risks, plating up dependable diner fare found on most American breakfast and lunch tables. Bloody marys and mimosas are nothing fancy here, but are priced to fit collegiate budgets and expectations. This spot is not for the old at heart, as your server will likely be just old enough to rent a car, but Hang Over boasts a pretty decent beer menu for a restaurant that closes before dinnertime. Must Try: Frog Eyes. These fluffy homemade biscuits are smothered in sausage gravy and topped with two eggs. If you get the yolks over easy, it kind of looks like the bulging eyes of a bullfrog, especially if you’ve taken advantage of the Jameson Irish whiskey on tap. We also recommend their classic grade-school cafeteria tater tots. 13 W. Charlton St., Corryville, hangovereasycincinnati.com. — SMP
Keystone Bar & Grill
Brunch: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
At any given time on a weekend morning (or afternoon), Keystone is likely packed. Friends pile in as groups, some nursing headaches, some ready to start their day. Nonetheless, it’s a Covington staple. Aside from mac and cheese fame (yes, there’s a “morning mac” with goetta and an over-easy egg), their brunch is a hot commodity, too. The selection is wide: potato crisps, frittatas, “wake-up calls” and platters. Order a classic biscuits and gravy combo or opt for something a little funkier like Keystone’s huevos rancheros or their goetta skillet. Must Try: Keystone serves up some fresh takes on bloody mary’s and mimosas. Add a twist to a classic mimosa by making it with guava, strawberry, peach or mango. For bloody fans, Keystone has you covered: select a classic take, make it “angry” (infused with Tabasco and garnished with a jalapeño) or channel your inner Irish with a splash of stout beer. Since it’s on ol’ Kentucky’s side of the Ohio River, try a “Bourbon Breakfast,” which combines Bulleit bourbon with Ale 8, lemon and orange juice. Multiple locations including 313 Greenup St., Covington, keystonebar.com.
Brunch: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Whether you’re in college or just want to feel like it again, Ladder 19’s boozy Sunday brunch has all the alcohol and indulgent dining options to make that dream come true. For $19, you can have one menu item and bottomless bloody marys or mimosas; if you just want the booze and not the food, it’s only $15. Lay down a base layer before drinking with half-pound burgers (veggie options, too); a Captains Skillet with goetta, bacon and sour cream; and a Fireman’s BELT, with bacon, two eggs, lettuce and tomato. Must Try: Pancake Dippers. Ladder 19 somehow stuffed crisp bacon inside of buttermilk pancakes, and topped off the creation with raspberry liquor and powdered sugar. 2701 Vine St., Corryville, ladder19.com.
Nation Kitchen & Bar
Brunch: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
If you go to Nation during peak brunch hours, it can feel like an extension of the night before — the restaurant is packed to the brim and music blares at a decibel higher than your typical breakfast/lunch stop. Their Boozy Brunch deal ($30) lets you choose one food item from the brunch menu along with bottomless mimosas, screwdrivers or “bloody carries” until 2 p.m. on the weekend. And if cocktails aren’t up your alley, they also have an extensive selection of craft beers. It’s a high-spirited atmosphere coupled with inventive takes on brunch classics, making it the ideal destination for nursing away the night before or starting your day delightfully buzzed. Must Try: The Brunch Wrap Supreme. This pressed-tortilla dish is filled with smoked sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, pepper jack cheese, queso, tater tots and jalapeño relish. If your life is an ode to carbs like mine, opt for loaded tater tots on the side. 1200 Broadway St., Pendleton, nationkitchenandbar.com.
Northside Yacht Club
Brunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
It’s never too early for Punk Rock brunch at Northside Yacht Club — as long as it’s after 11 a.m. Known to many patrons as a spot to catch cool touring bands late at night, NSYC has continually proven itself to have a quality kitchen staff that provides excellent food no matter what time the clock says. It’s not unusual to hear The Buzzcocks on the speaker while you study the massive beer cooler for your order. If you decide on their bloody mary, know it contains enough food to count as an entrée to some appetites, including a pulled pork sandwich, bacon, a chicken wing and — oh, yeah — celery. Have you checked out their rad new patio tables? Good for groups. Must Try: Breakfast Poutine. Anything served with Kennebec french fries should ideally be washed down with a pilsner or dry sparkling wine, especially if goetta gravy is involved. This incredible brunch poutine comes complete with rich cheese curds that contrast nicely with the crispy potatoes and fried egg. It’s smooth sailing for Yacht Club’s gravy boat. 4231 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, northsideyachtclub.com. — SMP
Brunch: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Revolution’s recently opened second location in Pleasant Ridge has the same focus on rotisserie chicken and playful pita sandwiches, but the brunch menu includes options like French toast, tater tot poutine and deviled eggs. Sunday also signals the start of Mimosa Madness: Buy a wine glass full of mimosa for $15 and get each refill for just $1. They also have three different bloodies, a mule-mosa with ginger beer and a Super Cereal Cocktail with Cinnamon Toast Cruch-infused almond milk, Bulleit bourbon and Ancho Reyes, garnished with a toasted marshmallow. Must Try: The Rotisserie Chicken & Waffles. Get anywhere from a quarter to half of a bird — white or dark meat — topped with spicy syrup and served with two buttermilk waffles. 6063 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, revolutionrotisserie.com.