Rally some friends and reserve a daytime lane at the popular alley, where you can fuel your technique with Blue Ribbon food. Noshing on the Jim Morrison—a fluffy buttermilk pancake served with fried chicken ($18–$22)—and sipping a well-spiced Bloody Mary ($7) should help you take any gutter balls in stride. Shoes $4.95, lane $25 per half hour.
Brunchers who’ve tried it all can expand their horizons with a tutorial from chef-owner Hong Thaimee. While relaxing with Thai tea or coffee, you’ll gather round the kitchen’s stove to watch the Chiang Mai–born toque prepare a few of her childhood favorites—khao tom (rice porridge with brussels sprouts, spicy sausage and egg) and sangkaya (grilled bread with custard sauce) have both appeared during previous iterations of the event. Wash down the family-style plates with a pomegranate-chili Bellini ($8) and plot how you’ll impress your pals with these new additions to your recipe arsenal. $90.
For the monthly “Bubbles and Brunch” seminar, chef Hayan Yi crafts a seasonal four-course menu to pair with a variety of day-drinking–friendly sparkling wines and champagnes selected by master sommelier Laura Maniec. By the end of Maniec’s guided tasting, you’ll be able to discern the nuances between champagne, cava and prosecco, and you’ll have the chance to try your hand at creating pairings of your own with a selection of the restaurant’s wines. $75.
Chef-restaurateur David Burke adapts the traditional carving-station format to his Saturday Pancake Social. Guests watch cooks assemble creative variations such as a black-and-white pancake with vanilla and chocolate fondant ($10), and a savory pastrami-salmon twist that tops three buttermilk discs with thin slices of smoked fish, pickled onions and horseradish crème fraîche ($15). Prix-fixe option $29.
If you head to this uptown institution’s famed Gospel Sunday Brunch, be prepared to party: The exuberance is infectious, even if you’re not the churchgoing type. Husband-and-wife duo the Simpsons belt out song after song, pausing to chat with the crowd and bring everyone into the celebration. Don’t worry about your rhythm (or lack thereof) and join in the clapping and foot tapping—if you can tear yourself away from the smothered chicken and waffles ($14.95).
A rotating lineup of musicians brings a lively spirit to this Soho spot’s weekly Klezmer Brunch. On Sunday 3, Boston’s Chai Notes grace the stage with Yiddish tunes, plus medleys that combine classic Shabbat songs with American pop-rock-disco hits. The menu reflects a similar blending of cultures with pastrami-speckled scrambled eggs ($15) and challah French toast ($12). $10 cover.
Gastronomes can learn how to create their own savory dishes and Bloody Mary interpretations during the classes at this Kings County space. Among the dishes you might attempt are huevos rancheros with smashed beans or a spicy tomato salad. The cocktail portion tends to be a bit more freewheeling, with guests utilizing a range of liquors, spices and garnishes to personalize their drinks. Don’t stress if you prefer to follow a recipe; you’ll have instructions for tipples like the Beet Bloody Mary at your disposal. $65.
Dandy Wellington and his band lend a refined air to Sunday afternoons at this former commissary at the Kaufman Astoria Studios. Share a basket of fresh doughnut holes filled with vanilla-infused mascarpone, homemade raspberry jam or orange marmalade, then proceed to your complimentary Bloody Mary or mimosa and a sweet or savory entrée. We like the decadent bourbon brioche French toast with whipped cream and macerated blueberries ($9) and the Astor burger, a hefty patty topped with melted Gruyère and portobello mushrooms, and slathered with truffled herb aioli ($13).
Night owls can avoid the brunchtime crowds by attending one of Emily Cavalier’s underground dinners. The roving supper club, which usually welcomes 20 to 30 people, centers on a different part of the globe each month—past fetes have been inspired by Mexico, Brazil’s Carnival and West Indian cuisines. You’ll kick things off with an hour of passed hors d’oeuvres, plus craft cocktails devised by a local mixologist (Brian Quinn, Max Messier and Hal Wolin have all made appearances). Next comes a three- or four-course sit-down meal featuring thematically appropriate dishes prepared by Cavalier herself (sometimes with a guest chef in tow).