Drink of the week:
A dollar mimosa.
Where you can find it: Joey's Brick House.
The damage: $1.
Thousands of bars in Chicago, why this one? Don't get me wrong; I enjoy breakfast cocktails as much as the next vodka-swilling brunch-goer. But on mornings after particularly brutal booze benders, I avoid the smell of a spicy bloody mary like most people dodge sunlight and loud noises. Still, in the aftermath of a birthday party that began with boots of Steigl at Chicago Brauhaus, then went on to a private sing-a-long suite at Lincoln Karaoke before finally settling in at Carol's Pub, whose 4 a.m. liquor license I had every intention of taking full advantage of, I was willing to try any cure for what ailed me. When I heard about Joey's $12 all-you-can-eat breakfast with $1 drinks, I figured that for a buck, I might as well give the whole "hair of the dog" theory a go.
How it went down: I don't know what kind of masochist sips Long Island Iced Teas at 10 a.m., but Joey's offers a whole slew of them, along with beer, wine and common breakfast concoctions, on its drink menu. I opted for a mimosa, expecting a mix of watery, straight-out-of-a-carton orange juice and a quality of bubbly on par with the kind of bottles that come tacked with bright orange price stickers.
To my surprise, Joey's doesn't skimp on quality for its bargain bevies, even swearing off store-bought juices. The delightfully pulpy, freshly squeezed O.J. tasted refreshing, not at all bitter and only slightly sweet. Topped with rose champagne, the drink had a drier finish than most mimosas and came in a glass twice the size of a standard flute. Large, delicious and practically free; it was all I could do not to snap my fingers to beckon my waiter for round two.
Would I want to become a regular? All-you-can-eat at Joey's doesn't mean soggy eggs sweating under heat lamps on a buffet. Instead, it has a small-plates menu of egg dishes and a few lunch items, allowing you to order as many picks as desired, though only one at time. Sitting next to the open kitchen at a comfy, one-sided booth, I watched the chefs scramble to churn out plate after plate for the sizable groups of twentysomethings packing the large, airy space. Surely, there's got to be a better system than to make those poor saps spend so much time on so many plates. Regardless, their pain was my pleasure, as I went from a crab cake topped with buttery hollandaise to a grilled cheese with rich tomato soup to a few bites of chocolate chip pancakes. The whole ordeal took nearly three hours, with fairly substantial waits between courses, so I kept the drinks coming—never spending more than a five-spot on drinks and feeling pretty peppy by mid-afternoon.
Dana Kavan scours the city for drink deals so good you'll offer to buy a round and creative libations that outshine your average on-the-rocks concoctions. Want to give Dana tips on where to rack up a bar tab? Share your finds before her next night out.