The Bottomless Cocktail Etiquette To Remember At Brunch

For many people, bottomless brunch cocktails are a supremely tempting siren song — an unlimited torrent of mimosas or Bloody Marys for a fixed price? Yes, please. Just because a boundless stream of brunch cocktails is on the menu, that doesn't mean there are no rules. Some brunch places will enforce their own guidelines, like a time limit, but even if this isn't the case, there are still unwritten rules about how to indulge. After all, we live in a society, so you don't get to act like an animal just because someone dangled some prosecco and orange juice in front of you.

A good rule to abide by is that your table shouldn't get loaded with empty glasses; there should be no more empty glasses than diners at your table. This is reasonable. If there are four of you at a table, and you've racked up 12 empty glasses (plus the drinks you're currently working on), you're probably abusing the system and ordering refills so fast that the staff can't keep up. If, for some mysterious reason, the servers are simply not clearing glasses from any table, this rule might not apply. However, if you're racking up the empty glasses while other tables around you are not, then it might be a sign to cool it.

Just try to be normal

Bottomless cocktails may seem like an invitation to throw decorum and propriety out the window, but you should avoid doing this. One key rule for behaving like a normal human is that you should only order one bottomless refill per person at a time (some restaurants won't give you more than one, anyway). It may seem more efficient to ask for more, but it's kind of abusing the system. On a similar note, try not to overstay your welcome. If a restaurant is full or close to full, and especially if people are waiting to be seated, it's not cool to camp out at a table for another two hours to get your money's worth of free drinks. It's probably fine if the restaurant is emptier — as long as the staff don't seem annoyed at you.

Speaking of staff, bottomless mimosas do not mean that the restaurant staff exists solely to serve you. If you're flagging a server down for a refill every time they walk past, you're probably overdoing it (and you might be inviting them to ignore you). Remember, they have other customers, some of whom also ordered the same thing. And do not whistle at staff or yell silly things like "garçon!" to get their attention for a fresh mimosa.

Sync your drinks

Bottomless brunch drinks can be quite a hassle for servers and bartenders. During bottomless brunch, they'll typically have to run many more drinks to tables than a regular brunch (where each diner will order one or two beverages).

To make things work smoothly, try to get all of the table's bottomless drinks refilled at once rather than ordering one drink at a time every time a single diner is down to their last sip. If you're at a table of four, when you've finished your drink, and everyone else has a couple of mouthfuls left, consider ordering a refill round for everyone, not just yourself (and hopefully, the others will finish their drinks while the new ones are coming). This not only makes life easier for servers but also makes service more efficient, as the server can bring four glasses at once. It's less of a concern if the cocktails are pre-mixed in pitchers, so servers just have to top up your glass, but it would be smart to get all glasses topped at once.

As with many etiquette rules, there are gray areas. If you're at a table of eight, trying to get everybody to finish their glass at the same time is probably an unreasonable expectation. Try to order a few refills at once, and if this involves sitting with an empty glass for 30 seconds, you'll survive.