Punch Bowl Social does not describe itself as a bar or restaurant — no, no. This, according to a press release, is "a nationally recognized lifestyle brand known for its industry-changing approach to experiential food and beverage."
We're not so sure that pingpong and punch is exactly a game-changer in 2019, but the second Texas location of the Denver-based chain — opening Saturday, June 29 at 2600 Main St. in Deep Ellum — does have one thing going for it: It's absolutely massive.
The 24,000-square-foot restaurant in prime Main Street real estate will have three patios, a "custom-built 360-degree bar" and "various lounges and gathering spots ideal for groups large and small."
"Punch Bowl Social’s design is as much a part of the experience as the food, drinks and games," according to the release. "CEO Robert Thompson brings his love of architecture and design together to create unique gathering spaces that merge design themes of mountain lodge, Victorian, mid-century modern and industrial, plus a fifth design element that pays homage to the host city or neighborhood."
In Dallas, that means diners will "enjoy exploring every inch of Punch Bowl Social to take in the design elements that reflect the neighborhood’s rich narrative," according the release. "Wall coverings nod to both the neighborhood’s early years as a jazz mainstay as well as its later stint as a punk rock gathering spot."
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Expect various themed rooms like the Central Track, with "train station-inspired booth seating, custom industrial railroad light fixtures, and retro black and white striped flooring evoking a railroad crossing." Along with jazz, the Deep Ellum-themed room also commemorates "the neighborhood’s namesake, the elm tree," with "elm bark-clad host stands, elm tree-inspired chandeliers and a custom elm forest wall covering."
All that whimsy aside, Punch Bowl Social invests heavily in its "expansive selection of social activities including pingpong, darts, board games, classic video games, bowling, private karaoke rooms and more." The restaurant "places food and beverage on equal footing with games and social activities, a disruption of a previous model that featured games first, with food and drink as an afterthought," according to the release.
As for the food, Punch Bowl Social "features a high-integrity culinary menu" (What does that mean? Literally no one knows, my friend.) with dishes like falafel burgers, superfood grain bowls and shrimp burgers. The beverage program includes non-alcoholic cocktails, local beer, some wine and the company's namesake punches.
Punch Bowl Social first launched in Denver in 2012 and has 16 locations nationwide. Dallas is Punch Bowl Social's second Texas location; it opened a location in Austin in 2014, and another is coming to Fort Worth later this summer. The Deep Ellum restaurant is hosting a grand opening on June 29. Tickets are $22.19 and will include a "live art installation," samples of the restaurant's dishes and drinks and "free social activities" like pingpong and karaoke. All proceeds from the ticketed event will be donated to Foundation 45, the Deep Ellum nonprofit that helps creatives get access to mental health and addiction services.