By Rhea Riley
Bowling lanes, chicken and waffles, and a fancy rye whiskey are features for a unique experience for guests at Milwaukee’s new hot millennial “eatertainment” restaurant, Punch Bowl Social.
Located in the arena district adjacent to the Fiserv Forum, Punch Bowl Social is set to have their opening day today, Saturday March 9th from 6 p.m. 8 p.m at 1122 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. Tickets will be sold at $20 dollars for guests to enjoy menu tasting, live music, a live art installation and much more. All of the proceeds for the event will go to Running Rebels Community Organization.
Running Rebels focuses on preventing Milwaukee’s youth from gangs, drug and street violence through basketball and other community youth programs.
Punch Bowl Social was founded by CEO Robert Thompson in 2012—the business is slowly taking over the nation with its swanky, distinctive presentation of food, fun, and comfort for the modern adult. This is the company’s 16th location and the first of nine other locations to open this year. After three years of preparation with the Milwaukee Bucks and five months of vigorous building and design, Punch Bowl Social is ready to open their doors.
Inside the trendy bar-restaurant, there are an assortment of different games guests can enjoy—giant Jenga, ping pong, billiards, and cornhole to Italian imported eight-person foosball tables and even a Liberace inspired karaoke room.
When compared to similar establishments such as Brady Street’s Up-Down MKE or even Dave & Busters, Thompson stated that Punch Bowl Social doesn’t view it as competition but appreciates a good concept. “All boats rise with the high-tide,” said Thompson.
According to Thompson, the gaming is what drives people in but the food and drink bring them back.
Punch Bowl Social’s directors and team make it a priority to do their research and find the best local products to add to their menu. According to their Beverage Director and Mixologist Patrick Williams, when arriving in a new market, like Milwaukee, they’ve tried 150 different beers, visiting various local breweries and distilleries.
“You’ll find as many or more local products here as you will anywhere else in the city,” said Thompson.
Their liquor menu caters to all, with non-alcohol sodas and mock cocktails along with inimitable mixed drinks, such as their gin-based “Connoisseurs cup” and their twist on the Strawberry Daiquiri.
Their hand-crafted detail also extends to their scratch food kitchen, headed by third-generation restaurateur, and chief culinary and beverage officer, Sheamus Feely.
“This is our commitment to our guest: We want people to have a craft experience and that’s food and beverage both,” Feely said about providing a quality food experience. “We want a scratch kitchen [and] we want to cook today’s food for today’s guests.”
Their menu offers exquisite dining experiences with dishes like “A Pig, a Duck and Some Cheese Walk into a Bar,”—a duck charcuterie board. You can nurture your comfort food cravings with their “The Wolf”—a griddled bologna, chip, cheese and Texas Toast sandwich.
Aside from the food, drink and games, their attention to detail is impressive. When opening a new location, their design team focuses on five different design concepts: Industrial, Victorian, Mid-Century Modern, Mountain Lodge, and local.
“We search each city as we go into it and come up with what we think are the more interesting esoteric histories or traditions within the city,” said Thompson.
Punch Bowl Social has incorporated Milwaukee’s lake and German culture as a part of their “local” design. Finite details like fish hook table tops, shiplap walls, beach chairs, and handmade German cross-stitched wallpaper are a few details paying homage to the brew city.
To buy tickets to Punch Bowl Social’s grand opening, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2706393819401149/ or https://www.punchbowlsocial.com/location/milwaukee