Walking along Broadway prior to the preview event for adult playground, Punch Bowl Social, men in hardhats are still adding polish to the exterior—doing a last-minute sweep-up of saw dust and putting final touches on an imposing neon sign. The sheer scale of Punch Bowl is something to behold.
The 24,000-sq.-feet may have seemed a daunting task to tie together, but designers have managed to piece it together flawlessly. "We were able to compartmentalize every square-foot," creating an intimate feel says CEO Robert Thompson.
The entrance opens to the restaurant area, with an open kitchen and the first of Punch Bowl’s four full-service bars. Tables and beige leather booths give the room a comfortable feel.
"We’re excited to bring a gastro diner to Detroit," Thompson says, who describes the menu embodying "high level of integrity."
For the menu, culinary director Sergio Remero has designed a list of familiar comfort foods, sandwiches, and burgers, as well as fresh dishes like salads and items like the strawberry melted quesadilla. A standout entrée is the chicken and waffles, a tower of malted waffle, panko breaded chicken breast, strawberries, chipotle pecan maple syrup, and candied walnuts.
The next room, dubbed the "Social Bar," offers easy access through two garage doors to future patio seating. Along the length of the back wall is the second of the bars with tall, leather-upholstered stools, booths, and log tables that can seat up to 20 people. Layouts and flow can be altered at the drop of a hat as every piece of furniture in the building is designed to be light and modular.
Punch Bowl’s 360-degree bar is the featured element of the third room. Hanging above the circular mountain of booze is a deer horn chandelier.
Behind the bar, beverage director Patrick Williams is serving up the company’s signature punch, a shrub made with skyy moscato vodka, house made watermelon drinking vinegar, lemon juice, house made cardamom syrup, and red wine. "I tried to breakdown what punch is," Williams says, noting that it’s not like the jungle juice one guzzles in college. The beverage list includes local nods as well as company standards. Detroit invention The Last Word is included among the "Old School" listings, while one "New School" cocktail mixes McClary Bros. apple pie drinking vinegar and Short’s soft parade. Nine of the beers are Michigan brewers including locals Atwater, Griffin Claw, and Dark Horse.
To the back of the bar is a semiprivate space referred to as the "Holiday Lodge." It offers plush chairs, billiards, and a fireplace overseen by a metallic, mounted deer head.
Private karaoke rooms, real (nonelectric) darts, bowling lanes, coin-operated arcade games, and foosball are situated farthest from the entrance. The karaoke monitors are operated by an electronic Punch Bowl Social app. Each room is completely sound proof and outfitted with comfy couches. On a confusing note, the bowling lanes are not numbered, but rather lettered to spell out SOCIAL. Upstairs one finds shuffleboard, ping-pong tables, additional seating, a fireplace, and a DJ station.
All together, the place reads millennial trap and from the flat screen televisions to the craft cocktails, and, dare I say it, hip décor. And while skepticism is often the rule of thumb when approaching a chain, it's difficult not to admit that Punch Bowl Social is, well, kind of cool.
Punch Bowl opens tomorrow. Ticket holders can arrive at 7 p.m. in time for an exclusive performance by Kaleido at 7:30 p.m. Doors open to the public at 9 p.m.
Regular hours begin Thursday. The kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast served daily until 3p.m. On Sundays the restaurant offers a brunch service with a Bloody Mary bar and live DJ. Punch Bowl Social is located at 1331 Broadway Street. For information on booking events visit