There’s really only one drink by which you can judge a great NYC brunch, and that drink is a mango Bellini. But since I don't spend pretty much all of my weekends drinking those (as the founder of BrunchCritic.com), I decided to instead put together this definitive guide to the 14 best Bloody Marys in the city right now.
Upper West Side
The Bloody Mary at Jacob’s Pickles is a piece of art, assuming your idea of art involves topping things with eggs and bacon (which really, it should). It’s served in a Mason jar, garnished with a fresh stalk of romaine lettuce, that strip of bacon we talked about, and half a hard-boiled egg with salt and pepper. And since this is a place named after pickles, you’ll want to at least have some on-hand to add to the cocktail -- order a tray, and they'll hook you up with addable beets, cucumbers, carrots, and pickles.
Seafood-up your Bloody game with MP's BM served with an oyster and a shrimp. And if you’re on anything resembling a date (or a prolonged morning-after), make sure to grab a seat in the back garden.
Created by one of its longtime servers (Marissa Kay Stephens), Marissa’s Bloody Mary (now don't be scared, but... ) uses her “vegan steak sauce” as the base of a drink that also includes raisin purée, orange peels, and apple cider vinegar. Feel free to not have vegan anything else, including the excellent lamb hash.
You knew there had to be an unlimited option on here, right? Well, this is it: The Growler offers an unlimited, do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar. You'll receive a glass with vodka, and then get to choose between classic, Cajun, or chipotle habanero house mixes to combine. There're also more than 18 sauces, spices, and garnishes to add to your creation -- remember, it's unlimited! Just be careful walking on the Stone St cobblestones afterwards.
You knew there had to be two unlimited options on here, RIGHT? Well, here’s the second: MexiBBQ’s breakfast booze is made with Sacramento tomato juice, Tabasco, horseradish, celery salt, Worcestershire, and lots of cracked pepper, all strained to give it a less viscous texture. The rim is a secret blend of the chef's secret spices, which're also used in a lot of the eats, as well.
Hundred Acres offers five types of Bloody Marys, including the Hampton Shore with Meyer lemon vodka, clam juice, and a shucked oyster, or the Royal with gin, cipollini onion, and a cucumber spear. The move, though, is the Creole Bloody made with mustard seed and garnished with a pickle -- it’s full of flavor, and you can order it by the pitcher.
At DBGB, you're served a glass with vodka in it, along with a carafe of DBGB house Bloody Mary mix. The garnishes are also served on the side, and you’ll enjoy adding thick-cut bacon chunks, tall stalks of celery, pork rinds, and big green olives to your drink (assuming you haven't already eaten them all).
Jane's Bloody Mary wins points for being the spiciest in town, which is achieved by mixing it up with house-made vinegar that’s been infused with habaneros to give it that extra kick.
Pair one of the best classic burgers in New York with one of the best Bloodys! Fine, it’s made with beef broth making it actually a Bloody Bull, but it’s still perfect with that burger!
Another customizable pour, but instead of having to get up off your ass (which you should never have to do if you don’t want to), they give you a card that has checkable boxes with all the ingredients and garnishes you can score, like kaffir lime chili salt, Franks, Worcestershire, pickled okra, cornichons, and “premium flair” like jumbo shrimp, prosciutto, oysters, bacon, and buttons that say “hand over the coffee and no one gets hurt”.
For those of you that hate when things come to you fully assembled (we’re looking at you, salad bar and buffet enthusiasts), Saxon + Parole provides a huge, DIY Bloody Mary station that’s rocking more than 35 ingredients and garnishes, including all kinds of Mary uppers like pickle juice, olive brine, hot sauce galore, three (three!) types of peppercorns, horseradish, and a ton of other stuff we challenge you to put into your cocktail.
The 10 Bloodys to choose from is partially why there’s a perpetual hour-long wait (or more) to get seated. You can’t really go wrong here, but focus your first sips on the Green Lake. It’s made with classic Mary mix, spiced with wasabi, and garnished with a beef jerky swizzler. And as a bonus, Prune also serves its Bloodys with a beer chaser. ALSO, if you're really hungry/crazy, you can order a plate of all the house garnishes by themselves.
This spiced-up (yet relatively simple) Bloody is a double shot with a special blend of Creole sauce, that’s then topped with shrimp and crab meat.
The Good Fork makes a top-notch variation of a classic Bloody with its mixture of V8, Worcestershire, horseradish, Sriracha, Tobasco, ground pepper, and a rim that’s coated with Old Bay. Bonus: each Bloody is made individually in a shaker, so you know it’s fresh.
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Andrea Pappas lives in lower Manhattan, and is a professional brunch enthusiast who has never turned down a celery garnish. She grew up competitively Greek dancing in California and eating pancakes every single morning. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
1. Jacob's Pickles509 Amsterdam Ave, New York
2. Hundred Acres38 MacDougal St, New York
3. P.J. Clarke's915 3rd Ave, New York
4. Jane100 W Houston St, New York
5. Saxon + Parole316 Bowery, New York
6. DBGB299 Bowery, New York
7. Maison Premiere298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn
8. Olea Mediterranean Taverna171 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn
9. Lexington Brass517 Lexington Ave, New York
10. Catfish1433 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn
11. Prune54 E 1st St, New York
12. The Good Fork391 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn
13. The Growler Bites & Brews55 Stone St, New York
14. MexiBBQ1633 2nd Ave, New York
Jacob's Pickles is where you go when you want a Southern comfort kind of brunch. The Upper West Side restaurant pickles everything from cucumbers and beets to green beans and carrots. The non-brined part of the menu features baked-from-scratch biscuit sandwiches, buttermilk fried chicken, and Bloody Marys served in a mason jar with a stalk of romaine, a hard boiled egg and a bacon strip. The bar is also a big player in the craft beer scene, offering a rotating selection of more than 25 microbrews on tap from New York, Maine, California and other American beer makers.
From the Cookshop & Five Points folks, Hundred Acres is a cozy market-driven restaurant in SoHo whose menu changes on the regular, if not daily. Combine the American whiskey collection with reliable small plates like cheese, charcuterie, and veggie-centric appetizers, and you've got yourself one fine date spot. Bonus points if you snag a spot in the back garden.
A New York institution, P.J. Clarke's has delivered on the fancy cheeseburger promise since 1884. And while Midtown in the new millennia no longer projects late-20th century old money glam, the venue continues to maintain a setting of demure class. Come for the bacon cheeseburgers, stay for the exemplary cocktails.
If you're eating at this casual Greenwich Village restaurant for the first time, be sure to order the namesake Jane Burger, which comes topped with double-smoked bacon, sautéed onions, the house sauce, cheddar cheese, pickled tomatoes, and lettuce. The burger may be a rite of passage at Jane, but sweeter options like vanilla bean French toast (made with brioche and crème brûlée batter) and carrot cake bread make the airy West Houston space a hotspot for weekend brunch, as does the secret-recipe Bloody Mary.
Saxon + Parole is a stylish restaurant on the Bowery whose decor and clientele look straight out of a Ralph Lauren ad. The seafood tower and charcuterie board appetizers define the surf and turf cuisine, as do the separate menu sections dedicated to land, sea, and steak. The standout is the signature burger, topped with melted Havarti cheese, maple bacon, a fried egg, and a bone marrow béarnaise sauce. A vintage wood-paneled bar in the front is well-stocked with whisky and usually packed with groups of thirty-somethings waiting for their table.
Daniel Boulud's Bowery restaurant maintains a fine balance between French brasserie and laid-back tavern, all while keeping its downtown cool. Because it wouldn't be a real Boulud joint without his signature European-inflected cuisine, the menu includes a fine selection of sausages and typical bistro dishes like steak tartare and steak frites. There are also hot dogs and burgers -- you won't find the iconic foie gras and truffle burger that Boulud is known for (that's reserved for the more upscale DB Bistro Moderne), but the pulled pork-topped Piggie and the confit pork belly Frenchie will do just fine.
This cosmopolitan city-inspired oyster bar and cocktail den is a classy Williamsburg spot where you can enjoy a stocked raw bar, and lounge outdoors on its greenery-filled patio. We suggest bringing a first date here, as the swank and intimate atmosphere & delicious menu will be sure to wow them.
This Fort Greene resto features a pan-Mediterranean menu that primarily draws inspiration from Spain, Greece, and Italy. If you're looking for tasty tapas, creative 'tails, or a terrific brunch, Olea has something for you.
Depositing itself at lobby level in the Hyatt, the second offering from EMM Group resembles a grand bistro with its high ceilings, giant windows, and marble bar surrounded by banquettes. The three daily meals boast everything from foie gras mousse, to buttermilk fried chicken w/ deviled eggs, to a chorizo scramble with hash and rock shrimp, which, unlike the combo of hash and Rock Lobster, won't have you thinking that narwhals swim around shouting "blaaaarrrgh!". Martini Week Specials: from 5:30p to 8:30p, get a Grey Goose Citron "Strawberry Sour" or a Bombay Sapphire "Lavender Bee's Knees" for $12.
New Orleans is the inspiration behind the restaurant and bar, Catfish, which means it's always time to celebrate. They have authentic Cajun fare for brunch and dinner, plus 16 rotating drafts and NOLA inspired cocktails, like the Hurricane or the Voodoo Bloody Mary. Come and play Bayou B.I.N.G.O. every Monday, 8:00pm-10:00pm in the spacious and rustic dining space.
Warning: you're going to be a bit cramped. Prune's turned into one of the most influential restaurants with food like Spatchcocked Pigeon and Roasted Marrow Bones. Don't miss brunch here either because the Bloody Marys rock. From classic to Chicago Matchbox, they've got every flavor you've ever wanted.
Husband and wife team Ben Schneider and Sohui Kim, the former a carpenter and the latter a chef, combine their creative energies at Red Hook's The Good Fork. Korean and European culinary traditions are wed onto a menu that features dishes like pork and chive dumplings, chicken liver toast, and larger fusion plates like steak and eggs with kimchee rice. Cocktails are far from simple, as evidenced by clam juice Bloody Marys served at brunch and absinthe shaken with grapefruit, lemon, and egg whites in the evening. Schneider's carpentry skills are obvious in how he complements the space's original architectural structure with curved wooden ceilings, vintage light fixtures, and a custom doorway nestled into a brick facade.
Though your pooch won't be able to see the inside of this wood paneled, canine-themed saloon(they can sit outside and eat complimentary treats and drink water), it was made with them in mind. The dogtail -- just think about it for a second -- comes littered with drinks like the Colorado Bulldog while the menu itself chalks bone marrow and hot dogs as offerings. And yes, you can get a growler of brew to go.
Add a Mexican spin to what you think of Southern BBQ to set your expectations for this perfect brunch spot. Ribs come rubbed in adobo, marinated in beer and braised in banana leaves while fried chicken comes crusted n cornmeal and dusted in ancho chile. For brunch you can go with the french toast(each slice is caked in Frosted Flakes) or intriguing spins like the eggs benedict with avocado and brisket which substitutes an english egg muffin with goat cheese jalapeno cornbread. P.S. 48 Beers on tap.