Punch Bowl Social, a 23,000-square-foot restaurant, bar, and entertainment venue, is set to open in Wynwood on Leap Day with a party including food, drinks, and Questlove.
From 7 to 9 p.m., guests who purchase tickets will enjoy bites, beverages, and a DJ set by the Roots frontman. Tickets cost $30, and all proceeds will benefit a local charity that has yet to be announced. After 9, Punch Bowl Social will open to be public.
At its Wynwood outpost, the self-described "eatertainment" venue will offer food, drinks, private karaoke rooms, '80s arcade games, nostalgic board games, darts, and duckpin bowling. For Punch Bowl Social founder and CEO Robert Thompson, this style of bowling is what sets his concept apart from other bowling alleys in the area. "Duckpin bowling uses smaller pins and smaller balls on a full-sized lane. You also get three balls instead of two," he explains. "Honestly, I don't bowl — it's not my bag — but I love duckpin bowling."
Thompson also stresses that, unlike other bowling chains that offer dining and entertainment, Punch Bowl Social serves food and drinks made with care. "This is our 20th location, but we are still producing a 'scratch kitchen' concept. We're making cocktails that are as good or better than any local bar because we care. It's the discipline that makes the difference."
Thompson says the food menu consists of "modern diner" favorites plus other items, such as Mexico City street tacos. "When we wanted to put street tacos on the menu, we went to Mexico City for five days," he says. "Our guide showed us where to get the best tacos. We go deep when we introduce an item."
The beer choices are also carefully selected, according to Thompson. "We'll only have one light beer in the house and the rest are all craft beers. We work with local breweries, and we only sell draft and canned beer to try to lower our carbon footprint."
Designated drivers and customers who prefer nonalcoholic beverages can order from a craft virgin drink menu. "If you're having lunch or not drinking, we feel you should have options other than a Diet Coke."
All of the eating, drinking, and playing will happen in a space designed to look part mountain lodge, part industrial, part Victorian, and part midcentury modern with a few Miami touches thrown into the mix, Thompson says. "We incorporate a lot of local details into these elements. They actually come together nicely." Miami touches include vibrant colors to match Wynwood's aesthetic. "We wanted to incorporate that Colorado-lodge aesthetic but with more vibrant colors. We refer to it as the 'acid lodge.'"
For those who think Punch Bowl Social is just another chain invading Miami, Thompson suggests they try the place for themselves.
"You don't see American chain restaurants spend over a year bringing together the vibrancy of the design we have going here. They're interested in cutting costs," he says. "Maybe the only place in our lives where we don't have humility is in the fact that we believe we are the best in class."
Punch Bowl Social Grand-Opening Party. With Questlove. 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, February 29, at 2660 NW Third Ave., Miami; punchbowlsocial.com. Tickets cost $30 via nightout.com. Admission is free after 9 p.m.
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