For many secular Brooklynites, the closest thing to a Sunday morning religious tradition is nursing a hangover with coffee and mimosas and hash browns at a local brunch spot. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but one element of old school weekend worship we wish these brunch rituals preserved more often is live music. Luckily, a few places in the borough host live shows, from bluegrass to samba to jazz and R&B, every Saturday or Sunday during brunch hours. Here, four of Brooklyn’s best places to catch live music before dinner time.
For 13 years, DUMBO’s Superfine has been hosting country and bluegrass brunches every Sunday from noon to 3pm. Little Red Hen Music’s Jan Bell books three bands per week, many from Brooklyn, as well as touring acts from Austin, Nashville, New Orleans. “If they’re touring and they’ve played a Saturday night gig, they love having this delicious meal and a nice little backstage area, which is unusual for a brunch gig,” Bell says. Mandolin and banjo-heavy regulars include bands like The Jack Grace and Bell’s own band, The Maybelles (she plays guitar). “There’s a lot of original music, a lot of 3-part harmonies,” Bell says. The menu’s southwestern spin complements the live shows. “Everything’s organic, and we import hatch green chiles from New Mexico–they’re kind of the star of the menu,” Bell says. “A lot of bands just love the green chile.” Coming up is Adam Moss’s Moishe Circus (8/9), a mix of klezmer and bluegrass; and the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival (9/27), with four bands at brunch–The Demolition String Band, The Me-Oh My-Ohs, The Dirty Waltz Band, Willy Gantrim, and Megan Palmer and Anna Egge.
126 Front St., DUMBO
Baked Burgundy snails, French toast, and lamb sausage Merguez are served with generous helpings of live soul and R&B every Sunday from noon to 3pm at Brooklyn Heights’ French-American bistro Bar Tabac. The crowd is a mix of stroller-pushers and day-drinkers, who usually start dancing after a few mimosas from the antique 1960s bar.
128 Smith Street, corner of Dean Street, Brooklyn Heights
Located right under the Williamsburg Bridge, this brightly-painted Brazilian botequim, or neighborhood bistro, hosts a live Samba band at brunch every Saturday from 2 to 6 pm. Traditional Brazilian brunch fare–banana fritatas, pork sausages, and omelets filled with hearts of palm, beef jerky, or codfish–draws a huge local crowd, and led the Times to dub Miss Favela the most authentically “Brazilian spot in the city.” Don’t miss the country’s national dish, feijoada, served every Saturdays–it’s a stew of black beans and pork alongside rice, kale, orange slices, and farofa, a toasted manioc flour. If you think 2pm is too early for Saturday brunch, there’s also Forro music every Sunday from 5 to 9pm (the brunch menu is available until 7).
57 South Fifth Street, corner S. 5th & Wythe, Williamsburg
Cafe Moto, a hidden gem under the South Williamsburg JMZ (there’s no sign on the door), hosts live jazz at noon every Sunday. It complements the faux-retro speakeasy vibe–owners John and Kevin McCormick, who opened Moto in 1997, have been credited with starting the Depression-era restaurant design trend. The New American brunch menu is heavy on paninis, and the warm date cake has received its fare share of food critic praise. At noon this Sunday (8/9), check out local Blues guitarist Jon LaDeau.
394 Broadway, corner Hooper St., Williamsburg
If you prefer movies to music as brunch entertainment, check out Nitehawk Cinemas’ Brunch Screenings.
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