A beginner’s guide to bottomless brunch, according to an expert

A beginner’s guide to bottomless brunch, according to an expert

Photo: Briona Baker
Words by Annie-Mei Forster

Some handy details before you dine.

I’ll never forget the first time I organised bottomless brunch with a group of friends. Many of the responses from my friends were the same: “What’s bottomless brunch? Does that mean I don’t wear pants?” Please, wear pants.

Melbourne has finally caught onto the American style of brunch. Over in The States, brunch ain’t no smashed avo and eggs on toast, it’s a boozy meal complete with cocktails, beer and maybe food if you still have room.

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I remember doing bottomless brunch once in New York and the waiters were so sick of coming back to refill our drinks that they dumped a few bottles of sparkling wine and pitchers of orange juice on the table and told us to help ourselves.

In Australia, we have Responsible Service of Alcohol regulations that prevent us from doing this (probably for the better), so bottomless brunch is a slightly different experience. In any case, here’s our beginner’s guide on how to nail your bottomless brunch in Oz.

Read the T&Cs

There’s nothing worse than turning up to bottomless brunch expecting the food to be included when it’s not, or finding out it only includes mimosas when you thought you’d be sipping on Aperol spritzes. Call ahead and find out what’s included to avoid disappointment.

Don’t make plans beforehand

Being hungover at bottomless brunch is a disaster waiting to happen. If you want to get your money’s worth, being hungover is going to make it harder to get those drinks down. What’s even worse is getting double the hangover when those two drinking seshes finally wear off. So, get a good night’s sleep and come to brunch refreshed.

Don’t make plans afterwards

You might think you’re a drinking machine, but don’t go telling your mates you’ll meet them for dinner because chances are you won’t even remember.

A friend of mine once decided to go on a Tinder date with a guy she’d never met before. She got so sloshed at brunch that she thought it’d be a good idea to take her friend along on the first date. In a completely avoidable turn of events, the friend decided to dish out insults to the poor, sober Tinder date. Needless to say, there was no second date.

Get everyone there on time

Every minute is precious during bottomless brunch. If someone’s running late, they’re letting the whole team down, so assign them an earlier meeting time. Also, order your food early so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach.


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Plan your drinks

If you’re lucky enough to find a brunch spot that includes negronis (like Melbourne’s A25), then start with a mimosa and slowly work your way up to the harder stuff. You don’t want to end up getting carted out.

I used to work at a bistro that offered bottomless champagne lunch on Sundays and I remember a woman who was sitting next to the window spewing as she got up to leave. The vomit ricocheted off the window glass and she left looking like a dog who’d rolled in poo. Don’t be that person.

Be VERY nice to the staff

Every table wants their drinks fast, so be nice. Imagine having to deal with table after table of drunk, rowdy brunch-goers who aren’t even there for the food. Think ahead and ask for another drink when your current one is half full. That’ll stop you from trying to flag them down later when you’re completely dry. Maybe even leave a tip if the service was good. The staff will be grateful and they’ll remember you if you come back.

Most importantly, stay hydrated

Water is key to surviving bottomless brunch — especially if you plan to keep drinking after it’s over. If you’re bad at remembering to drink water, set water alarms on your phone at intervals so you remember to stock up on H2O. Remember to drink responsibly.

Still thirsty? Check out our list of Melbourne’s best beer gardens.