People line up before opening time and continue arriving into the early afternoon for the bottomless brunch at Barcocina. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun video)
At the start of each weekend, plenty of text message chains all around Baltimore begin with the same question: "Brunch?"
Here, the leisurely paced gathering is more than a meal — it's a time to catch up with friends and family, celebrate, complain about the workweek and meet new people. For many, it's also an opportunity to catch an early buzz on a budget — thanks to the popular bottomless-brunch model, in which patrons pay a flat rate and get an unlimited amount of drinks (usually bloody marys and mimosas) within a certain time frame.
To help narrow the options, we highlighted 10 area bottomless brunches to try. So figure out your designated-driver situation, set a reasonable alarm and prepare for a day of fun.
Bottomless hours: 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (limited to two hours)
We keep an eye on Aggio because the Power Plant Live restaurant from celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio often surprises us — and its recently added brunch is no exception. A fine-dining experience like this isn't the most obvious spot for bottomless indulgence, yet this Italian eatery offers a three-course meal for $25 and bottomless mimosas, bloody marys and crushes (orange and grapefruit) for $20. It's a little more grown-up than the taverns and sports bars offering similar deals, but Aggio lacks stuffiness, too.
Along the Fells Point waterfront sits Barcocina, the popular Mexican-inspired bar and restaurant serving pancake sliders and chilaquiles during brunch. Patrons come for the views and the food, but also the brunch's $13 bottomless mimosas, bloody marys and bloody marias (like its sister but with tequila instead of vodka). Barcocina stands out on this list because its brunch isn't just offered on the weekends. Bottomless is available every day, but if quantity isn't your main concern, the weekday menu has $7 specialty brunch cocktails while weekend brunch features a $6 build-your-own margarita.
So technically, this Mediterranean medium-plates chain isn't "bottomless," but on Saturdays and Sundays, mimosas (both orange and grapefruit) cost a penny each when purchased with the $35 all-you-can-eat brunch. (Yes, Cava Mezze allows you to order as many food items as you want within an allotted two-hour span. Just note that your entire party must commit to the all-you-can-eat menu.) Bloody marys and sangria are $2 each, too. General manager Ryan Jones stressed that word has spread about their brunch deals, and recommends making reservations early.
The college hangout offers its $12.99 "Bottomless Hair of the Dog," which includes bottomless bloody marys and mimosas. CVP also offers homemade sangria and a variety of crushes (orange, grapefruit, peach, blueberry, mango and pineapple) in single servings ($5) and 32-ounce pitchers ($9). Food-wise, you can build your own omelet, or order items like French toast and chipped beef.
An underrated corner bar in Brewers Hill, Huck's has one of this list's widest selections of bottomless options, including mimosas, bloody marys, screwdrivers, National Bohemian and bloody Bohs — a combination of bloody mary mix and Natty Boh with an Old Bay rim. Huck's also offers eye-popping comfort-food items like the Texas Straw Hat, a cast-iron pan layered with Fritos, chili con carne, fondue, bacon, sausage, cheddar, an over-easy egg, onions, pickled peppers and sour cream for $10. Come thirsty, but hungry, too.
Bottomless hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (available only at the bar)
Known for its crabcakes and epic Ravens tailgate parties, this Dundalk staple also serves bottomless bloody marys and mimosas on weekends — if you can find a spot at the bar. For $19.99, patrons receive the unlimited drinks, along with a brunch entree like Jimmy's omelet (shrimp, scallops, crabmeat, Monterrey and cheddar cheeses) or the brunch burger, served on a croissant and topped with bacon, a fried egg and cheese.
Since its founding in 1997, this South Baltimore haunt has made for a popular destination. But if it's bottomless drinks you crave, you'll have to go on Sunday, the only day Little Havana offers bottomless bloody marys and mimosas. The $18.99 price includes a choice of entree, such as Cuban fried eggs, huevos rancheros or other options. There are also specialty brunch drinks that can be ordered separately, like the Goombay Smash (Bacardi light rum, Captain Morgan coconut rum, peach schnapps, pineapple and orange juices; $8) or the Cuba Libre (Bacardi light rum, Coca-Cola, lime and bitters; $6).
A hot spot for football (expect Penn State games on Saturdays and all NFL games on Sunday), No Idea offers brunch with unlimited National Bohemian, mimosas and bloody marys for $13. The brunch menu leans heavily on omelets and pancakes. For the ultimate hangover cure, try the Bowl — sausage and gravy on top of tater tots, scrambled eggs and American cheese.
This Fells Point bar is a nice setting to nurse a hangover, or create a future one — and not just because of its dim lighting. On weekends, $10 gets you unlimited bloody marys, mimosas and screwdrivers. For those skipping the sauce but not wanting to miss the brunch fun, Red Star has unique nonalcoholic drinks for $3, including sweet cucumber mint iced tea, pomegranate lemonade spritzer and Saranac bottled sodas. And from burgers and pizzas to brunch salads with apples and pecans, the menu should please a wide range of palates.
While most bars offer bottomless brunch on weekends, this Fells Point soccer pub flips the script, offering the steady flow of drinks — including mimosas, screwdrivers and bloody marys — for $13 on weekdays instead. You'll have to purchase a breakfast entree separately, which could include a Scotch egg (bison sausage, cheese grits and Colman's mustard sauce; $13) or a Watermen's Breakfast (fried eggs, green onion sausage and shrimp gravy, and fried oysters over white toast; $15).
Bonus: Non-bottomless options
Maybe you've tried these bottomless brunches and need something new, or the idea of sipping down as much orange juice and cheap Champagne as you can sounds like a headache. If unlimited booze isn't your motivating factor, give these brunches a try.
City Cafe: From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, City Cafe's expansive brunch offers cocktails, mocktails and food options like benedicts and burgers. 1001 Cathedral St., Mount Vernon, citycafebaltimore.com.
Clavel: The mezcal-focused, typically busy taqueria hosts brunch on Sundays, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 225 W. 23rd St., Remington, barclavel.com.
Iron Rooster: Located in the heart of the Canton Crossing shopping center, Iron Rooster serves brunch all day (7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday). Try the Cock-a-Doodle-Doo cocktail. 3721 Boston St., Canton, ironroosterallday.com.
Maggie's Farm: This respected restaurant made local sourcing a priority before it was en vogue, and that extends to its brunch menu of snacks, sandwiches and entrees, which Maggie's serves 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 4341 Harford Road, Beverly Hills, maggiesfarmmd.com.
Miss Shirley's Cafe: A longtime favorite with locations in Roland Park, Inner Harbor and Annapolis, Miss Shirley's brunch is comfort on a plate, and it's served all day. Service remains on point, too. missshirleys.com.