Forget coffee. At the following local restaurants, the brunch drinks are boozy, often bottomless, and definitely worth setting your alarm for – yes, even on the weekend.
Whether you’re looking to wash down your Belgian waffles with Irish coffee or prefer that your juice pack some punch, these hotspots offer the ultimate chance to spend a morning (or leisurely afternoon) indulging in creative cocktails alongside decadent dishes.
Lulu Dine|Wine: If you’re going to brunch in a cozy bungalow featuring Parisian art and French cuisine, your drink choice should be equally elegant. Enter The Wicked Elder. Served in a champagne flute, the elixir features sparkling wine with elderflower-flavored St. Germain liqueur. For the sweetest – and most indulgent – French twist, pair it with the crème brulee French toast. (Brunch served Saturday and Sunday.) 1911 Central Ave.; 704-376-2242; www.luludinewine.com.
Baku: Don’t call it brunch. This is Baikingu. At this swanky SouthPark spot, the Asian-inspired meal comes with a variety of sharable savory dishes for the table, including salmon teriyaki, jidori chicken, baby back ribs, and spicy filet of beef. For the ultimate Baikingu (the Japanese word for “Viking”) experience, pair the fare with one of the “Sake-mosas,” subbing chilled sake for Champagne for a potent spin on the favorite. (Brunch served Sunday.) 4515 Sharon Road; 704-817-7173; www.baku-restaurant.com.
Soul Gastrolounge: If ever there was a place for brunch-time debauchery, this second-story Plaza Midwood spot is it. Specifically, the hip restaurant’s disco and drag queen brunches on the second Sunday of each month are a favorite for those seeking a side of entertainment, with playful dishes like scrambled egg pierogies and French toast paninis. For a real twist on a favorite, order the Red Bull “Electric” Screwdriver, the famed vodka and orange juice combination offering an extra caffeinated buzz. (Brunch served Sunday.) 1500 Central Ave.; 704-348-1848; www.soulgastrolounge.com.
Leroy Fox: Two words: Bottomless Mimosas. When you’re eating dishes as decadent as the Chicken & Waffles – featuring housemade Belgian waffles, topped with the signature fried chicken breast, spiced peach compote, and maple syrup – you’re going to need a lot of liquid to wash it down. Lucky for you, for $12 the Mimosas just keep coming. So find a seat on the laidback patio and settle in to imbibe. (Brunch served Sunday.) 704 S. Sharon Amity Road; 704-366-3232; www.leroyfox.com.
Heist Brewery: Sure, you may think that having a midday cold craft beer makes the most sense at one of the city’s most hopping breweries. But that’s only if you haven’t tried one of bartender Stefan Huebner’s $3 savory Bloody Marys. Order one as soon as the bell rings at noon (Heist’s playful way of indicating the bar is now legally open) and enjoy it alongside dishes like breakfast flatbreads and baked Brie from the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat buffet. (Brunch served Sunday.) 2909 N. Davidson St.; 704-375-8260; www.heistbrewery.com.
Nan & Byron’s: A sure sign the brunch is designed for indulgent eating? The buffet comes with a fresh Mimosa. But once you’ve finished the housemade orange juice and Champagne concoction, make your next drink the Dancing Cranberries. This festive flute features Prosecco, white cranberry juice and brightly colored cranberries bubbling inside. Take a seat on the sunny patio and toast to indulging in the buffet’s chilled shellfish or its signature hearty meatloaf topped with sriracha ketchup. (Brunch served Saturday and Sunday.) 1714 South Blvd.; 980-224-7492; www.nanandbyrons.com.
Terrace Café: Breakfast is served every day at this casual eatery’s Ballantyne location and every day all day at the SouthPark site. Which means there’s no excuse for not having indulged in its famed Red Velvet Waffle drizzled with cream cheese. For a bright wake-up call alongside the waffle, try the fruity Sunshine Cocktail, made with Champagne, peach schnapps, amaretto, and orange and pineapple juices. Ballantyne location: 14815 Ballantyne Village Way; 704-369-5190. SouthPark location: 4625 Piedmont Row Drive; 704-554-6177; www.terracecafecharlotte.com.
Napa on Providence: Head to this stylish Myers Park spot for a taste of coastal California. Offerings such as bananas Foster waffle or duck confit Benedict offer posh twists on the traditional dishes. And chic drinks follow suit, with the bar’s version of the Mimosa featuring a splash of pomegranate juice with the juicy seeds floating in the flute. (Brunch served Sunday.) 110 Perrin Place; 704-900-8535; www.napaonprovidence.com.
North Harbor Club: Prefer your eggs and bacon with a view? Head to North Harbor Club for its brunch, with savory dishes such as smoked salmon and Gruyere panini or wild mushroom frittata with goat cheese and caramelized onions. Start with one of the eye-opening coffees, like the Café Almond Joy made with Godiva, Baileys and Malibu Rum, or the Café Appalachian with Wild Turkey Honey Bourbon and blackstrap molasses syrup. (Brunch served Sunday.) 100 N. Harbor Place; 704-896-5559; www.northharborclub.com.