Punch Bowl Social Opens This Weekend

Denver "eatertainment" chain opens first Wisconsin location at Bucks Entertainment Block.

By - Mar 7th, 2019 03:37 pm
Punch Bowl Social bowling alley. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

Punch Bowl Social bowling alley. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

Punch Bowl Social, a Denver-based “eatertainment” chain, will open its first Wisconsin location at the Milwaukee Bucks‘ Entertainment Block this weekend. Urban Milwaukee got a sneak peek during a media open house on March 6th.

The two-story facility includes three bars, an arcade room, three private karaoke rooms along with various board and table games throughout. The dining areas have 90 reservable seats but can fit up to 1,000 people in total. Most of the company’s locations range from 20,000 to 25,000 square feet in size. The Milwaukee location (1122 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave.) follows suit at about 24,500 square feet.

In terms of decor, Punch Bowl Social includes five themes: mountain lodge, mid-century modern, industrial, Victorian and a fifth-localized theme. For the Milwaukee location, lake and cabin culture were tied-in through details such as rope-shaped lights and shiplap (a type of wooden board used in barns and sheds). Some German cross-stitch wallpaper serves as a nod to the city’s German history. Antler chandeliers and a stag head in the Holiday Lounge reference the company’s signature stag, but could also be interpreted as a nod to a certain deer mascot. “I’m sure the coincidence won’t be lost on many Bucks’ fans,” says founder and CEO, Robert Thompson.

Each of the karaoke rooms are their own ode to Wisconsin. The first room is space themed, a nod to the song “Space Cowboy” by Steve Miller Band (Miller is a Milwaukee native). The second room is dedicated to nothing other than cheese, complete with cheese-themed wallpaper and end tables in the shapes of cheese wheels. The third room, dubbed Moonlight Sonata, is a whimsical space inspired by West Allis-born Liberace.

Thompson notes a scratch kitchen and craft cocktail bar allow Punch Bowl Social to emphasize food and drink as much as the company’s entertainment element. The menu, curated by chief culinary and beverage officer Sheamus Feeley, offers both lighter and indulgent dishes.

Appetizers include shareable plates from chips and salsa ($5) to A Pig, A Duck and Some Cheese Walk Into a Bar ($22), which includes “La Quercia” prosciutto, confit duck leg, potted pork, “Point Reyes” blue cheese, marinated feta, “Castevetrano” olives, house-made dill pickles, strawberry jam and a hasselback baguette.

Lighter fare includes taco dishes ranging in price from $11 to $14 (each dish comes with three tacos and frijoles charros) and salads, such as the Superfood Grain Bowl which includes crispy farro, quinoa, kale, radishes, sprouts, pickled chiles, shiitake mushrooms, poached egg andmiso ginger vinaigrette ($13).

Options for burgers, sandwiches and other main courses are also available. The Wolf serves up griddled bologna, shredded lettuce, American Cheese, mustard and sea salt kettle chips on Texas toast ($12.5). The Chicken ‘n Waffles uses fried hormone and antiobiotic-free chicken breast and thigh over a malted waffle, with fresh strawberries and chipotle-citrus maple syrup ($16).

On the drink side, many of the offerings are the creation of mixologist Patrick Williams. Williams says he visits each location before its opening to taste local ingredients used in the drinks and to help train staff members. Non-alcoholic options include mocktails, housemade sodas, fizzes and juices. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic shakes and malts are available.

Craft beverages include a number of draft and canned beers, along with champagne and red and white wines. Craft cocktails range in strength and flavor. Will Conga Line for Rum is on the sweeter side, and uses Cruzan Dark rum, Rum Haven coconut rum, Teakoe’s Pomegranate green tea, Monin Orgeat and fresh lime juice. With Sauza Blue Reposado tequila, muddled cucumber, house-made cardamom syrup and fresh lime juice, the El Macho feels like a refreshing, less-sweet version of a margarita. The Two Hats Blues packs a punch with Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram and Dom Benedictine liqueur.

Punch Bowl Social will also offer a late night menu, happy hour specials from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., a brunch menu and bloody Mary bar on Saturdays and Sundays, and a kids menu daily.

Punch Bowl Social will officially open to the public on March 9. A grand opening party will start at 6 p.m. Tickets and more information are available on the party’s event page.

The company is the second tenant to open at the Bucks’ Entertainment Block. Good City Brewing opened in January at 333 W. Juneau Ave. Other tenants include a Drink Wisconsinbly Pub announced in December 2018, and the MECCA Sports Bar and Grill, which was announced in February.

Punch Bowl Social will have limited hours from March 9 to March 31. The business will be open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday. Starting April 1, hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday.

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