The dangers of bottomless brunch

You may have heard the phrase ‘cheeky mimosas at lunch’ or even been invited to indulge in a few of them yourself. So, where does this phrase come from? Well, a lot of it is down to the bottomless brunch events that have become extremely popular in some countries over the last decade. But what exactly are bottomless brunches, and can they be dangerous?

What are bottomless brunches?

Bottomless brunches have become a favourite dining trend in places like the United States and the United Kingdom, where guests can indulge in a brunch menu alongside unlimited servings of selected drinks for a set amount of time. These beverages often range from alcoholic options such as mimosas, bloody marys, bellinis and prosecco, to non-alcoholic choices like coffee, tea and sodas.

This dining concept focuses on promoting a joyful and sociable setting where friends and family can come together for a relaxed meal spiced up with the excitement of endless drinks. You’ll typically find bottomless brunches at restaurants and bars, mainly during certain hours over the weekend or on special occasions.

With a single price covering both the meal and unlimited drinks, bottomless brunches promise a great deal for those looking to enjoy an extended dining experience. However, it’s crucial for guests to consume alcohol sensibly to avoid overdoing it. To help manage seating and keep the service flowing smoothly, restaurants often implement time restrictions, usually between 1.5 to 2 hours.

The dangers of excessive drinking

Unfortunately, many see the bottomless brunch time limit as a challenge and a lot of attendees will try to drink as many as possible within the given time frame. This can lead to people becoming dangerously intoxicated, causing problems both in the bar/restaurant as well as outside of it. Below, we highlight some of the main issues that can occur.

Alcohol poisoning

Experiencing alcohol poisoning is severe and can be life-threatening, especially when a lot of alcohol is consumed quickly. Symptoms like confusion, vomiting, seizures, slowed breathing, blue-tinted skin, hypothermia, and unconsciousness may occur. The temptation to drink more than usual at a Bottomless Brunch, aiming to get your money’s worth, heightens the risk of this dangerous condition.


Drinking alcohol causes your body to produce more urine, which can quickly lead to dehydration. This risk is even greater at a bottomless brunch, where the endless flow of drinks might lead you to skip on water, worsening dehydration and triggering symptoms such as thirst, weakness, dizziness and an imbalance in your body’s electrolytes. This imbalance can negatively affect how your muscles and heart work.

Impaired judgement and coordination

Alcohol dulls your brain’s ability to function properly, having a negative effect on your ability to make good decisions and coordinate movements. At a bottomless brunch, the increased alcohol consumption can result in risky actions like drunk driving, violent/aggressive behaviour or other choices you wouldn’t consider when sober.


The typical aftermath of a bottomless brunch is a tough hangover, featuring…well, we all know by now what a hangover feels like. But these symptoms are your body’s reaction to breaking down and getting rid of the large amounts of alcohol consumed in a short time. Those 15 glasses of Prosecco you downed in 2 hours yesterday will not feel good the next day.

Long-term health risks

Of course, we don’t mean that if you attend a Bottomless Brunch and go overboard one time, you’ll develop long-term health problems. This warning goes out to the regular Bottomless Brunch attendees. Regularly participating in Bottomless Brunches and similar events can lead to longer-term health issues, such as chronic liver diseases, alcohol dependence, alcoholism and an increased risk of certain cancers.

Case study: Bottomless Mimosa causes death on the roads

In 2023, Kevin Orihuela was sentenced to four years in prison following his conviction for homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated. Surveillance footage revealed Orihuela consuming 11 mimosas within a two-hour window from 1:06 PM to 3:01 PM

Following the brunch, Orihuela got into his Audi A4 and sped up as he approached the intersection where the tragic accident took place. The car’s data recorder indicated that he reached speeds of up to 70 miles per hour in a zone designated for 40 miles per hour, ultimately leading to a T-bone collision with a Ford Fusion.

The victim, Noel Powell, was rushed to Suburban Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. He leaves behind a grieving family, including his wife of 34 years and their two grown children.

Noel Powell’s death brings to light serious issues with promotions like bottomless drinks at bars or restaurants. These deals let people drink as much as they want for a set price, which can lead to overdrinking. Orihuela’s story shows how easy it is for people to drink too much and then make risky decisions, such as driving drunk, because their judgement is clouded.

It makes you wonder if places that offer unlimited drinks are partly to blame. It’s a wake-up call for these businesses to consider the impact of encouraging customers to drink a lot and the possible legal issues they could face if things go wrong.

This whole situation underscores the importance of knowing the limits and dangers of drinking too much. There’s a real need for better education on drinking responsibly for both drinkers and the businesses that serve alcohol.

Navigating a ‘Bottomless Brunch’

If you’ve experienced Bottomless Brunch events or are attending one for the first time, it’s vital that you craft some form of plan for how you will navigate it. In an environment where alcohol is unlimited, there’s always the possibility of over drinking and becoming dangerously drunk, even if you intend not to.

That’s why we’ve put together 6 tips you can follow that will help you plan these types of events efficiently and, hopefully, without any form of negative incidents.

Fuel up beforehand

Kick things off with something hearty in your stomach. A meal with some good protein and fibre will help slow down how fast alcohol hits you. If the event offers food, which most do, it’s essential to eat before you start on the drinks menu, as well as eating throughout the event.

Don’t forget to hydrate

Now, we don’t want to sound like a classic concerned parent here, but water is your best friend at these types of events. Slip in a glass of water between your drinks to stay hydrated and keep the buzz at a happy level. If you get a little too involved with the festivities, you could take advantage of the countless apps available that will notify you once it’s time to hydrate.

Know when to say when

It’s tempting to go all out but remember, it’s not a race. Decide how many drinks you’re comfortable with before starting, and stick to that plan. It’ll save you from a rough tomorrow.

Pick your poison wisely

All drinks are not created equal. Those sugary cocktails might taste like candy, but they can sneak up on you. A mimosa or a light beer might be your best bet for staying within the normal realms of drinking alcohol without tipping over (in moderation, of course).

Organise transport before you start

“Ahh this taxi is taking too long. I’ve got my car here if you’d like a lift?”, a line heard far too often, with negative consequences happening equally as often. Driving’s off the table, whether that’s for you or your friends who attend. Make sure you’ve got a backup plan like Uber, Lyft or a very generous, sober friend. It’s one less thing to worry about, so you can focus on the fun.

Check-in with yourself

Are you feeling too wobbly? Pointing at yourself in the bathroom mirror, laughing at how drunk you look? It’s most definitely time to take a break, and one of the first things you can do is switch to something non-alcoholic. There’s no shame in pacing yourself and listening to what your body tells you. Plus, you’ll thank yourself in the morning.

Are you attending bottomless brunches a little too often?

If you’ve found yourself attending too many of these types of events, it could be a sign that you’re dealing with a potential alcohol addiction.

If you’re worried about your alcohol consumption, it might be time to reach out for extra help.

UKAT’s team of dedicated professionals is here to listen to your concerns and worries and provide expert advice on alcohol addiction treatment and alcoholism rehab. Reach out to us today for any help you may need with alcohol.

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