Few cities can brunch like Pasadena. The lazy mornings of our weekends are sacred here—a time when we leave spreadsheets and supervisors far behind to indulge in croissants, cappuccinos, and long conversations. It’s a fantastic way to spend a morning among friends, enhanced by a well-crafted cocktail, designed to pair perfectly with that wonderful meal between breakfast and lunch. Lucky for us, there are a few spots around town that feel the same way.
Bottomless Mimosas, Plate 38
Since the very first brunch, invitations extended to friends and family have been met with the same question: “Are the mimosas bottomless?” And it’s a valid question. The bubbly union of champagne and orange juice is an absolute standard, made only better when you don’t have to worry about the shock of a sky-high bill at the end of the meal. Plate 38 offers 100 percent fresh-squeezed orange juice and a dry, soft California Brut for its mimosas. And where other restaurants skimp on champagne, Plate 38 indulges with generous pours of the bubbly.
Ramos Fizz Gin, The Raymond 1886
It’s difficult to find a bartender still mixing this New Orleans classic, much less mixing it well, but The Raymond comes through in spades with house-made orange-blossom water and fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice. With each sip, the gin cocktail breaches the sweet head of foam, finishing in an airy, vanilla-orange blend that pairs perfectly with the breakfast dishes crowding the table. And, if the ingredients are in season, you might be offered a mango or strawberry-kiwi version of this delightful drink.
Bear Espresso-Ties, Great Maple
If you’re having trouble waking up and joining the conversation, Great Maple has you covered with its brunch cocktail, the Bear Espresso-Ties. This drink is a wonderfully balanced jolt of Baileys, Kahlúa, vodka, and espresso served in a bear-shaped glass. But don’t let its cute appearance fool you—the drink inside is strong, and with enough of a caffeine kick to have you up and moving in no time.
Bloody Mary, Magnolia House
Sharp and spicy, the bloody mary has been a brunch menu staple since the first caveman woke up too late for breakfast but still wanted eggs Benedict. And while there are many places to find this deliciously potent drink, Magnolia House should be your first stop. The house-made mix of tomato juice and bold spices is top secret, a family recipe that goes back generations. They won’t tell you what makes it so good, but they’ll gladly bring you a second round.
KINGS ROW Seasonal Cocktails
When it comes to “gastropub” your first thought is likely bar food and beers on tap. At Kings Row gastropub, however, you might want to hold that thought in favor of a seasonal craft cocktail. Bar manager Zelma Cobain, a native of Boyle Heights, and a self-taught cocktail master, creates a rotating selection of soulful inventions and new twists on old favorites, like the Raw Power, a coffee liquor infused take on the Manhattan, the Anything Anything, a cinnamon tinged margarita, or the Bramble, a gin and blackberry concoction that is as delicious as it is beautiful. 20 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Mon-Thurs 11:30-1:00, Fri. 11:30-2:00, Sat. 10:30 – 2:00, Sun 10:30 – 1:00, Happy Hour Mon-Fri 4:00-7:00pm