As you navigate weekend brunch, consider adding a bit of flair to your morning by partaking in a do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar. Instead of laying back and having a boring, endless steam of pre-mixed cocktails brought to you, take charge by taking a trip to the bar and artfully creating a bloody masterpiece worthy of social media. From artisan tomato mix to piles of pickles to snackable toppings — bacon, cheese sticks and even shrimp, just for starters — there's much to be said for making up a drink as you go along. Gaetano's (3760 Tejon Street) won our award for Best Blood Mary Bar this year for good reason, but here are five other build-your-own Bloody Mary bars that will turn you into a cocktail-making pro.
1550 17th Street
The table settings and decor at this downtown restaurant are stylish and elegant, so it may surprise you to learn that such a posh place offers a bottomless do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar. While the bar might be unexpected, the quality of the goods is not. Load your drink with goodies like cubes of Gruyère cheese, briny olives, wavy strips of bacon, celery sticks and pink sea salt. You can also get your fill of housemade pickles — a lineup that includes okra, sea beans, peppers and green beans in addition to standard cukes. Spice up your drink with horseradish and a variety of local hot sauces. And if you get tired of drinking Bloody Marys, you can switch to mimosas at no extra cost. The good are laid out every Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m., for $15 per person as long as you order an entree.
There's a reason this Baker restaurant was awarded the year's best Bloody Mary deal: because it is. For just $2, you can get a glass of ice with a shot of well vodka and full access to spicy and mild mixes, a variety of spices, pickles, lemons, limes and cocktail onions. Pair that with a plate of stick-to-your-ribs pupusas rancheros (pupusas, eggs, pork green chile, black beans, cheese and salad), and you'll be set for the day. Get this bloody extravaganza Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. And if you want to upgrade your drink with Tito's or Stoli, you'll pay just $2 more.
Punch Bowl Social
65 Broadway, 303-765-2695
3120 Uinta Street, 720-500-3788
Many bars offer a pre-made Bloody Mary mix for brunch cocktails, but at the original Baker and new Stapleton Punch Bowl Social locations, you can create your own using lemon or lime juice, olive brine and a variety of hot sauces combined with tomato juice. There's also one ready for you in case that's too much work on a weekend, but you'll have to do the garnishing yourself if you choose the $8 do-it-yourself bar. Each order comes with a shot of Epic vodka and the chance to work some cocktail magic. Accoutrements include bacon, salami, ham, pepperoni, shrimp, celery, pickled green beans, baby corn, cauliflower, cheese and pretzels, to name a few. Get this deal each Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at both locations.
Second Home Kitchen and Bar
150 Clayton Lane
The JW Marriott Hotel in Cherry Creek hides one of the city's best-kept brunch secrets: Second Home Kitchen and Bar. The space is comfortable, the staff friendly and the food pretty darn good. That, and the eatery has a glorious Bloody Mary bar every Saturday and Sunday starting at 7 a.m. and running until 2 p.m. After you get your $9 glass of booze, mix it with either a traditional Bloody mix or the bar's own tomatillo concoction. From there, top the drink with a slew of tasty things including bacon, green olives stuffed with blue cheese and a normal lineup of Bloody Mary veggies. Add a breakfast pizza to your order and consider the weekend won.
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1659 Wazee Street
Head downtown on Saturday or Sunday for Urban Farmer's Bloody Mary bar. Each weekend, the restaurant at the foot of the Oxford Hotel offers ten to twelve ingredients to spruce up your drink, from housemade candied bacon to freshly grated horseradish to an array of sweet and hot peppers. Also expect at least one homemade pickle to add to your drink, as well as Boulder's own Pica Flora hot sauces. Access to this extravagant spread runs $10 a person. Order a grass-fed sirloin Benedict and a maple granola waffle to add to the tasty morning (or in some cases, afternoon) meal.
Can't get enough of brunch? Check out our list of the thirteen best brunches in Denver.