July 22 2016 12:58 PM

Food, liquor and ambiance make or break brunch

    Madison on Park’s orange pineapple kale mimosa
    Photo by Lyudmila Zotova

    In a city with so many sunny days, the weather practically pre-ordains that morning or afternoon brunching is part of your weekend daily grind. Though a break from the oppressive heat (speaking with San Diego bias and perspective) would be most welcome.

    An amateur bruncher thinks it's all about the chicken and waffles. A veteran day drinker knows food is important but that boozing it up with the right liquor and in the right ambiance can make all the difference.

    Nothing nurses a hangover like a hearty Bloody Mary or gets the celebration going like a cold mimosa. Here is a quartet of boozing establishments that serve all that and more, and will help you achieve your day drinking goals.


    The Rabbit Hole (3377 Adams Ave.)

    There's no place like the hole. You can catch a game here without the usual brah-tastic vibe you'd get at other sports bars. Weekend brunch features giant, manly dishes like the Chuck Norris Breakfast Burger (oh yes, that exists) and drink specials like $10 champagne bottles and $5 Bloody Marys. Also on special is a Rabbit Hole original, The Dude cocktail. Made with vanilla vodka, Licor 43, coffee and house cream, it combines the best of both brunch worlds—boozing and caffeinating.


    Madison on Park (4622 Park Blvd.)

    Madison on Park recently debuted a brunch menu that's filled with tasty but diminutive dishes. While the food is good, the drinks are better. It reminds me of a place you'd visit on a Sunday with your girls to talk shit about your ex, while getting wasted on mimosas. Speaking of mimosas, they're available by the pitcher, or for $7.50 each. You can choose from four mix-ins: orange pineapple kale, cucumber honey, Honeycrisp apple pomegranate and lemon blackberry. Madison also has five brunch cocktails to choose from, including the cutely named Hollyhock, made with Tito's vodka, strawberries, lemon, basil and champagne.


    Small Bar (4628 Park Blvd.)

    University Heights staple Small Bar serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and for those still waiting for their financial portfolios to even out—your food comes with a free cocktail or beer. Practically a meal in and of itself, the Bloody Mary Superior includes ingredients such as beer-candied bacon, shrimp, mushrooms, pickled green beans, a bleu cheese olive and more. I know Small Bar probably makes you think of beer, but the cocktails here don't disappoint. That Moscow Mule in a copper cup—try it, I think you'll be pleased (but don't steal the vessel).


    The Waterfront Bar & Grill (2044 Kettner Blvd.)

    You didn't think to come here for brunch, did you? It opens at 6 a.m. every day. Serving up a Mexican brunch menu on the weekends and breakfast items every day, the Waterfront is known to mix up some stiff drinks along with an extensive draft list. A bucket of ice with a bottle of champagne can be yours, along with some OJ in a carafe for mimosa making, for $10. You don't go to the Waterfront for craft ingredients; you go for cheap booze, juicy burgers, and smiling faces—even at 6 a.m.

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