There’s a new bar/restaurant/entertainment venue in Detroit called Punch Bowl Social. Now that we’ve covered that, here’s what you really need to know: This is going to be one of those game-changing moments for the city.
Overheard: “I’m sold on this place.” (H/T to The Peacock Room for stealing one of its catchphrases.) And I am as well for a bunch of reasons. It is unlike anything you’ll find in the suburbs. It is a venue where the owner and managers are still uber proud of what they’ve created and have a real hand in crafting the joint to honor its location. And it had people of all colors and ages peeking in the windows during Tuesday’s media preview, which convinces me that more than the hipsters (bless their plaid hearts) will be visiting.
Those things and much more tip me off to the fact that Punch Bowl Social is the kind of spot that makes things happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see the entire neighborhood around it near Broadway, Gratiot and Grand River step it up a bit. Things are going get new facades. Things are going to get competitive. And, damnit, that’s exactly what needs to happen. It’s just what The Z (parking garage/art space) needed and what Bedrock Real Estate wanted. Nice job, all.
First, a little on Punch Bowl Social, which opens for a fund-raising event tomorrow and to everyone else Thursday. The gastro diner is known for its ‘Dirty Modern’ style which combines industrial, Victorian, mid-century modern and Colorado mountain lodge design elements into an environment that the modern consumer wants. (Think fuzzy wallpaper, brick walls and reclaimed wood. Sooooooo “new” Detroit.)
Founder and CEO Robert Thompson opened the first Punch Bowl Social in Denver in 2012. Since then the concept has expanded to Portland, Ore., Austin, Texas, and as of Dec. 10, 2014, Detroit. A Chicago location is projected to open in late 2015 (read: Yes, sir, we got it first. Take that, trendy Windy City).
Punch Bowl Social serves as the Z-Garage’s anchor tenant at 1331 Broadway, between Grand River and Gratiot avenues. The 24,000 square foot complex inhabits the ground level along Broadway Street. The diner will seat approximately 120 people and the venue can hold approximately 850 people. My only complaint, so to speak, is that it isn’t BIG enough. I want more. I want another one across the city. Not to dilute its efforts, but because I think it differentiates Detroit from Dearborn, Eastpointe, Birmingham and Ann Arbor. It makes the city a DESTINATION. That’s awesome.
What does it look like? What can you do there? Oh, a few things. Guests will enjoy bowling, ping pong, shuffleboard, darts, pinball, foosball, pool, board games, corn hole, ski ball, retro video games, private karaoke rooms and a photo booth. There’s this upstairs seating area by a fireplace that I’m claiming for my own. And because the place opens at 7 a.m., you can grab a coffee and work there all day. Look for me bowling in between deadlines.
Everything feels unique yet local. And you can eat there all day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sergio Romero, Punch Bowl Social’s Culinary Director, has created a menu that offers made-from-scratch, upscale comfort food with a culinary twist. In Detroit, the restaurant partners with local companies including McClure’s Pickles, Zingerman’s Bakery, Peteet’s Famous Cheesecakes, Scotty O’Hotty Hot Sauce and Red Goose Spice Co. The food is good and the drinks are strong. Remember that last part.
The public is welcome to join the fun Wednesday for a fund-raising preview. Proceeds from the $10 tickets will benefit The Salvation Army. They are available online at http://punchbowlsocialdetroit.ticketleap.com/event-1/.
Thursday, the doors open to the public for a grand opening bash featuring music by Detroit’s Kaleido. There will be locally-sourced dishes with a twist, artisan punches and craft cocktails at four distinct bars and retro games.
The kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and features brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday brunch features a Bloody Mary bar and a live DJ.
After I checked out the media preview, I went over to Whole Foods to meet a friend and had an opportunity while I waited to chat up the security guard there. I told him about Punch Bowl Detroit and he nodded his head throughout my description. “We need places like that,” he said sincerely. “It’s going to up the game.” Yes, it is.