If we're friends – and even if we aren't – you've probably gotten a "brunch?" text from me at some point at 10:00 am on a Sunday. I'm about this brunch life. I've brunched all over D.C. – from cheap, reliable spots to bougie places. My only rule for brunch is this: "if it ain't bottomless, it's breakfast." I try to only frequent restaurants that serve bottomless mimosas because my money goes further, and nothing beats being buzzed on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Because brunch is such a big thing in D.C., it can be hard to find an affordable, reliable place to get your eat and drink on. Many restaurants have gimmicks and promotions to stand out from the crowd.
But sometimes, you don't want all of that. Sometimes you just need that spot where the server leaves the mimosa pitcher at the table. When it's the Sunday before payday and you're hungry but you don't feel like cooking breakfast. When you're broke but you still want to hang with the homies. When you rolled outta bed at 11 am and want to make a last minute reservation and it seems like every restaurant you've called is completely booked.
Below is a (non-comprehensive) list of reliable, fairly cheap brunch spots in the D.C. area.
Red Rocks (H Street)
One word: reliable. I can always make a reservation here, even if it's an hour before. The service can be so-so and the food is aiiiiiight, but the mimosas are strong. They're served in huge wine glasses and you can choose from orange, grapefruit, and cider. They also have really fun brunch + day parties and a huge rooftop.
Local 16 (U Street/16th Street)
Another reliable spot. The food is decent and really cheap, but the mimosas really are the selling point. This a place where they leave the pitcher on the table, which a lot of places don't do. It can be hard to make a reservation here the day before or day of, so make sure you make yours a few days in advance.
Cava Mezze (Barracks Row/Capitol Hill)
This is easily one of my favorite brunch spots in the District. It's like tapas style, but for brunch plates. You order a bunch of brunch plates and share with your friends. They have a cute rooftop that overlooks the Barracks Row neighborhood. The service is great. Every time I've been, I never had to wait for a refill.
Front Page (Dupont Circle)
This is the only restaurant on the list with a buffet brunch, which means it's the only truly bottomless brunch spot on the list. They have a buffet with the standard brunch stations: a waffle station, eggs, grits, and bacon. The biscuits and gravy are really good. They're super accommodating if you need to add a last minute friend or if someone's running late, you can still get seated. The music playlist is solid, and you can chill with your friends sipping mimosas and eating bacon and grits.
Pursuit (H Street)
This place is like a hole in the wall. If you walked past it on the street, you might miss it. But it's a really cute two-story restaurant on the far end of H Street. The plates are kind of small but the food is really good. I recommend the blueberry and chocolate chip waffles. They serve liters of bellinis and mimosas. I usually get the pitcher of the "blushing mimosa."
Ozio's (Dupont Circle/Downtown)
If you like your brunch with a side of turnup, this is your spot. Ozio's is mainly known for its brunch + day parties (like Wings & Mac). I've never been myself, but you can't beat a bottomless brunch and day party for around $40.
Bin 1301 (U Street)
I went here a lot in the summer of 2015 after graduating from Howard. Back then, it was one of the only places we could stroll into at noon without a reservation and be immediately seated. The food is good, with standard brunch plates like french toast. It's super cheap, too, which was a perfect setup for my broke recent grad friends and me.
I'd be remiss if I didn't include the GOATs of cheap brunch spots in D.C. Long live Irish Whiskey and its $1 champagne, and Tap & Parlour's $7 bottomless mimosas. #NeverForget. RIP. (h/t JQ)
Sound off: What's your favorite cheap brunch spot in D.C.? Did yours make the list?