Harry and Meghan were dead right to walk away

Amanda Cassidy

#IWD21: Maryam Paruk set up a small business to recognise Ireland’s cultural diversity

Dominique McMullan

5 Irish women who have managed their businesses with agility, creativity and fortitude this past...

Melanie Morris

Lynn Enright: ‘With spring’s arrival, I’m finally ready to go back to real clothes’

Lynn Enright

Is marketplace feminism stealing the limelight from real female-driven issues?

Amanda Cassidy

Women-led charities and social enterprises to support this IWD and beyond

Amanda Kavanagh

‘The industry is on its knees’: Wedding planners call for more clarity and support from...

Jennifer McShane

#IWD21: Therese Wright’s wellness doll takes children’s worries

Dominique McMullan

IWD: 8 Irish women in the beauty business on what their biggest failure taught them

Holly O'Neill

Image / Editorial

The Perils Of Bottomless Brunching

by Kerry Buckley Barnes
30th Nov 2017

It’s more than ten years since Sex and The City ended. Over its six seasons it taught us everything we needed to know about female friendships, relationships and ……..ok, fine, it mainly taught us about the unmentionables they didn’t teach at a convent school in Ireland. My point is everyone took something different from SATC. We all labelled our friends the Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda of the group while always self- identifying as the Carrie. I didn’t fall in love with the romantic leads, nor did I aspire for Carrie’s shoe collection. I just desperately wanted to go to brunch. There was something about Samantha clinking the top of her glass for a refill of champagne that was the epitome of cool for 16 year old me and I wanted in on the action.

The general feeling that life is not complete without a Mimosa for breakfast did not go away. My mum wasn’t keen on me introducing the idea at home – Champagne was for graduations and weddings, and certainly didn’t go with scrambled eggs. I finally found myself moving to New York at 22 and making a beeline for Il Bastardo, a trendy spot that had featured in MTV “reality” show The City. Since first appearing on my radar, it seemed brunch had morphed into something completely different and even cooler – the AYCD brunch. The eye-wateringly beautiful hostess kindly translated for me: “All you can drink, duh”. I couldn’t believe my luck, order any brunch item ranging from scrambled eggs with smoked salmon to a BLT and drink as much as you want – no wait – as much as you can. It almost seemed too good to be true.

I spent the following year boozy brunching all over New York, downing Mimosas, Bellinis, Screwdrivers, even Sangria as I went. My mum would be appalled, I thought, but I’m sure quietly impressed with such a great deal. There were brunches that kicked off in early afternoon, the blinds pulled down and disco lights turned up, DJs played and the champagne arrived with sparklers sticking out the top. People danced on the tables, there were drag queens and karaoke, I even went to one where there was a lip sync battle. Brunch was chaos and seemed a million miles from the Dublin I had left behind.

Two years later, I was back in London with a mild case of liver failure, when I discovered my favourite pasttime had travelled across the Atlantic and touched down in Bunga Bunga in Battersea. They coined the term bottomless brunch – as in you would never see the bottom of your glass. Venue after venue followed suit, coming up with their own inventive themes to get you through the door: singles brunch, musical bingo brunch, cabaret brunch, there’s even a pirate brunch. I tried them all. Most recently, I’ve heard about a burger joint hosting “Frunch” on a Friday afternoon. It’s a spot where city workers can drink unlimited frozen margaritas with their lunch (okay, fine, I have been but am very conscious lest my colleagues read this).

Having sampled the fizz at more spots than I care to remember, it is my duty to warn you that while boozy brunch is wonderful for those who manage it responsibly, it is disastrous in the hands of the thirsty or thrifty. You’ll find yourself grabbing the microphone rapping Eminem at karaoke or with a bristly beard painted on your face (the pirate brunch, of course), and there is always the token puker in the corner that’s had a little too much fun. Come 5pm, those friendly faces that were constantly topping up your glass turf you out the door so they can ready themselves for their more respectable evening customers. And as your eyes adjust to the harsh light of day and normal people shuffle past with their grocery shopping, Drunk You will very quickly realise it was in fact not a good plan to arrange to meet your boyfriend’s mum for the first time after brunch, nor should you have planned to go to an Ai Weiwei exhibition, and you definitely shouldn’t plan to go shopping without risking spending a fortune on ridiculous items that you simply MUST change into before you leave the shop.

Actually, cancel any post-brunch plans- glasses of bubbles escalate things FAST. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect your day to be absolutely nothing like Samantha Jones’s and go somewhat like this: brunch with the girls turns into an unsavoury mix of sugary cocktails at 5pm, followed by a tequila bar and a night out dancing and usually ends in MacDonald’s at 3am where suddenly a cheeseburger looks like it would make an extremely comfy pillow where you could rest your face.

Also Read

The grown up guide to wearing glitter lips

If Tom Ford, Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel and Nars tell you...

By Holly O'Neill

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako

essay collections
6 brilliant essay collections for when you can’t commit to a whole book

Time these days is a contradiction.  Slow-moving, yet somehow passing...

By Jennifer McShane

Elizabeth Day
Elizabeth Day: ‘Life is full of failure. But it’s never too late to change your life’

Failure is a natural element of the cycle of life....

By Jennifer McShane

Covid crying
Tears, fears and tissues: The 5 types of Covid crying we’re all by now familiar with

It goes without saying that most of us have had...

By Edaein OConnell

Christmas cost
What I Spend at Christmas: The 37-year-old digital marketer earning €25k who isn’t buying presents for her siblings

Christmas cost the average Irish family €2,700 over the festive...


Is marketplace feminism stealing the limelight from real female-driven issues?

‘Femertising’ is big business. Brands are increasingly taking advantage of...

By Amanda Cassidy

Graham Norton
‘People were too busy ordering bottles of brandy or finding out who had the cocaine’: Graham Norton on the Christmases he’d much rather forget

Chatshow host Graham Norton worked as a waiter when he...

By Graham Norton