Duffy’s Tavern – Hungry like the Wolverines – a New Year’s Day extravaganza

For a touching and very special New Year’s Day edition, we researched our options and decided on a return trip to the buffet brunch at Duffy’s Tavern. If our readers recall, we first experienced this majesty, drowning in crab legs and mimosas, with a DJ to boot, back in August. We pretty much had the bar (and crabs) to ourselves, so we were feeling brave and overconfident when we decided to return for their New Year’s Day Onesie No-Judgment brunch.

Since NYD brunch is a big deal in the Windy City, we had to carefully weigh our options and be very strategic about our choices. We’re pretty sure there’s not another city in this hemisphere that so embraces the hot mess and uses any excuse to go out in public in a onesie like Chicago. Duffy’s offering on this day was to serve their all-you-can-eat brunch buffet with bottomless mimosas, bloody mary’s, wine, beer, and well cocktails for $30. They also were doing a pajama brunch, (because why not?) as well as showing NCAA bowl games, featuring the Michigan Wolverines, to which the bar pledges allegiance, in the Outback Bowl.

We bundled ourselves onto the bus and arrived about 5 minutes before they opened, to find a handful of brave, pajama’d folks already in line. A ride share disgorged a man clearly still dressed (and possibly drunk) from the night before, lacking dignity, shame, and a warm coat. Clearly, we were in the right company for a brunch.

The early risers among us got our pick of seats (ours at the bar, as usual), with the rest of the post-merriment, dog hair-seeking crowds oozing in behind us. The bar didn’t truly fill up until just before 11 am, the seats filling well before the crab leg station.



We made our first pass at the buffet because Jodie has the feeding schedule and patience of a colicky child, and needed a snack. A solid hour of salty anxiety passed as we questioned whether or not there would actually be crab legs. Jodie’s eyes snapped to the kitchen door every time it swung open, and was FINALLY rewarded, right at 11, with a staff member toting a bucket of leggy goodness to the buffet. The Michigan crowd was distracted by kickoff, so she plucked the first bunches of orange gold from the buffet.

For an honest-to-god 30 minutes, we didn’t speak to each other.

Over the years, we have come to understand what is truly important in a relationship, and sometimes that’s carnally slurping crustacean meat without making any eye contact or conversation with your significant other, aside from grunts about a particularly magnificent extraction (see above). Consider this your Pro Tip.

We stayed for the whole game (spoiler alert: Michigan lost) with three trips to the crab legs, on the hour, as they came out. We timed it because…well, because.

There isn’t much we can truly add to our prior review, other than we got the full Michigan, full house experience. We got a better feel for what a fall game day looks like than we did during our visit in August. That being said, games that don’t follow a huge drinking holiday like New Year’s might be even more raucous. Any time you show up to a bar in your clothes from the night before and text your friends to bring you your Michigan jersey…well, that is a unique moment.


We thoroughly enjoyed our post holiday Michigan football onesie brunch experience, and look forward to the fall for the unadulterated magnificence of a Michigan game day.

Happy New Year!

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