Thursday, June 23, 2011

Boogie Down Brunches Include Bottle Service

Mercadito's "Disco Brunch" includes your very own Bloody Mary bottle service. (Photo: Mercadito Chicago)

Every now and then you need a jolt to the regular routine—and we're not talking about an extra cup of coffee.

We're talking about brunch. Some folks get a thrill out of waiting in line for an hour or two at the latest brunch joint. Others drool over the prospect of pancakes stacked high and drowned in sauces and syrup. But right now, especially during the warm months, we're all about the "disco brunch" concept, which is pretty popular in Miami and New York.

They're lively, with party atmospheres, so if you've got a rowdy group of friends or family who'd get the stink eye at more civilized brunches at the Four Seasons or even Wishbone, these might be your best bet.

Mercadito, in fact, encourages loud, rowdy groups because they're easily drowned out by the deejay spinning contemporary and old-school tunes.


The River North restaurant ups the ante during the spirited brunch with the city's only bottle service between the hours of 11:30am-3pm Saturdays. Guests choose from Bloody Marys or Mimosas, which come with a hearty selection of unique freshly squeezed mixers like Pineapple-Tomatillo (tomatillo juice, pineapple, cilantro, jalapeƱo, lime juice) and Guava & Spiced Syrup; garnishes (habanero salsa, hibiscus sugar, blueberries), premium vodkas and champagne. Prices for bottle service range $45-$550.

Brunch dishes are updated versions of Mexican classics such as Huevos Ahogados (Chef Patricio Sandoval's version of Eggs Benedict with poached eggs, crispy corn bread, and chipotle-hollandaise sauce), Pozole Rojo (with barbacoa chicken, chile ancho-guajillo broth, corn tostadas, lettuce, onion and oregano) or a number of tasty tacos.

The deejay really rocks out, but I've yet to see anyone get out there and boogie down. On the flipside, on the Saturday afternoon Spirit of Chicago lunch/brunch cruise, there's no parking on the dance floor because it's packed with people dancing off that brunch buffet.

There's a deejay spinning typical, Top 40 oldies, but people seem to love it. This is the type of cruise that's ideal for family reunions, anniversaries and milestone birthdays. It's also perfect for when you've got friends or family in town so that they can see our beautiful city's skyline from Lake Michigan.

The brunch buffet is all you can eat, with delicious items like Caribbean roasted chicken, Thai BBQ sirloin of beef, pastas, pastries and more. The two-hour cruise boards at 11am at Navy Pier and goes from noon-2pm. The $42.90 ticket does not include cocktails, but includes coffee, tea and soft drinks.

And Sky High Sundays at Vertigo Sky Lounge is the latest new disco brunch. This one is super hip, runs 2-10pm, with high-profile deejays spinning deep and sexy house music every week. Brunch bites are light. Future featured artists: Diz and Just Joey (Sunday) and Mark Farina (July 1).

No cover; $6 Belvedere cocktails and $6 Jameson shots.

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