Revelations, revulsions, and really great brunch pretzels in the heart of Manhattan
There’s an arms race underway among brunch restaurants in New York City. People line up for hours outside the city’s culty spots and restaurateurs battle for press, prestige, and the most Instagrammed plates. Some, like the Doughnut Project, set themselves apart with everything bagel-inspired doughnuts. Others, like the Boilermaker, get the party started before the sun comes up, serving breakfast food after midnight right in the bar. But few spots offer themselves up as an adult day care—replete with steins of German lager, a make-your-own bloody mary bar, and a 100-ounce mimosa tower.
Hofbräu Bierhaus NYC, an indoor beer garden in the heart of midtown Manhattan, blends German-inspired brunch food, board games, wall-to-wall televisions, and ample amounts of booze that could make—or destroy—all of your well-intentioned weekend plans. But even if you cancel your evening dinner reservation in favor of a boozy nap, you’ll still learn a thing or two about yourself after taking on three-and-a-half feet of sparkling wine and OJ. Of course, some of these revelations are more pleasant than others.
A make-your-own bloody mary bar is deeply empowering
At Bierhaus, even the mundane components of a bloody mary are up for customization, which is great for someone like me who still hasn’t gotten over the death of the serve-your-own froyo craze of 2014. After selecting their vodka, participants can walk through a gauntlet of beverage options, including different kinds of tomato juice, spices, and toppings. Sure, some bars might be known for adding bacon, pickles, Slim Jims, mini-hamburgers, or even sushi to their bloody marys, but I now understand that choosing your own tomato juice is the real sleeper pick in the world of fantasy bloody mixing. There’s an ocean of variety out there, with everything from pulpiness to spice level ready for the choosing. And if you’re intrepid enough to go back for seconds, you could taste your way through the wild world of lycopene-rich breakfast cocktails.
The pulp vs. no pulp debate could end friendships
The rising spire of mimosa loomed overhead—a cylinder of orange liquid that challenged the four of us to continue, and would mock us for our failure. Drinking 25 ounces of mimosa sounds bad on paper, but it looks like victory when you see the trail of orange pulp left behind as the tower empties. But most importantly, this pulp trail brings up some pretty serious feelings, as well as bitter debate. For us, the obvious question was one that is as old as breakfast itself: What is the role of pulp in orange juice? Loved by some, reviled by others, pulp can make or break even the strongest of bonds. And in our case, the table of four was split evenly between pulp-lovers and those who were wrong don’t care for it. But with halfway to go, we had no room for bickering. Onward.
Seriously great ideas take flight
A brunch's worth of bacchanalia is just the right amount. There aren’t a ton of places where you can get a sugar high, a brunch buzz, and knock over a stack of oversized Jenga pieces while eating waffles. But as the adult summer camp phenomenon takes off, we were left wondering whether or not we could survive a week or two of booze-soaked campfire sing-a-longs and—heaven forbid—any kind of archery or hiking. “But what if we could start some kind of adult day camp?” we wondered. A camp that offered Pinterest arts and crafts, Instagram photography classes to capturing the best fabricated version of your life (hello, shoe photos!), and would teach you just enough about wine, beer, and whiskey to impress your friends once camp ended for the season seemed like a great idea, if only for as long as our buzz lasted and there was a half-tank of mimosa still ahead of us.
There are societal obligations involved in finishing 100 ounces of mimosa
Make no mistake: 100 ounces of anything is a lot to work through. This may be especially true for mimosas. When your table is about 75 ounces deep, your mind starts to wander and disconnect from your body. It’s like hitting a wall running a marathon, except you’re sitting down. And you’re not running. And you’re sweating for all the wrong reasons. Participants—even total strangers—are in it together, as each long, beer hall-style table is dotted with mimosa towers—an unspoken signal that you’re not alone on your journey. This fortifies us against the pitying stares of those enjoying more modestly sized beverages.
The novelty begins to fade somewhere near the bottom of the tower, and your hopes and dreams become as scattershot as the trail of orange pulp left behind in the tube of beverage above your table, one pour at a time. But even as you feel your constitution fade, your determination increases. You realize just how valuable your friends are, how much you love them, and why they’re the greatest.
Perhaps this is the mimosa’s greatest gift—the rare combination of a sugar high, a Champagne buzz, and more vitamin C than anyone really needs on a weekend morning. Absent are the sniping remarks of a wine drunk, or the whiskey-fueled fists looking for a fight. No, mimosas are made to bring us together, to dream of something greater, and to realize just how good waffles are. Or maybe that’s just the alcohol talking.
Midtown is not as bad when you’re day-drunk
Times Square isn’t a favorite spot for most (if any) New Yorkers. We love showing our out-of-town friends around, but we not-so-secretly hate it when you need to get to the neon-soaked shithole of a subway station at 42nd and Broadway. But when you’re more mimosa than man, your perspective begins to change. The guy parading around in a bootleg Elmo costume becomes more endearing and less viscerally creepy. You get softer.
This is the ideal time to go through Times Square. You don’t mind walking slowly, you don’t care who bumps into you. The sun is shining, the garbage is reeking, and cadres of friendly strangers invite you to watch stand-up comedy, save the whales, or convert to a new religion. What could beat that? Maybe another giant soft pretzel. Definitely a pretzel.