Anika Zappe named bar manager of Punch Bowl Social, Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar and Argyll
And Zappe has big ideas for Punch Bowl Social. "I'm really looking forward to doing boozy coffee drinks in the morning, boozy adult milkshakes in the afternoon and, at night, I've got a lake-full of cocktail ideas, most of which will make use Colorado's world-class spirits," she says, revealing, too, that she'll devise some liquid culture drinking games to complement the bona fide games and amusements that Punch Bowl Social plans to make available: marbles, ping ping, video games from the '80s, a giant Jenga and private karaoke rooms -- private being the optimum word here, because, as Thompson points, out, not everyone wants to hear you yodel.
Thompson's big picture outlook for Punch Bowl extends far and wide; within the next ten years, his goal is to open ten nationwide -- and Zappe, he says, will oversee the beverage program at all of them. "Punch Bowl Social is a brand that I've conceptualized to go national, and Anika will train the staffs and concoct city-specific cocktails for each market," says Thompson. "As most people know, I don't drink, so it was vital that I hired someone I could trust implicitly to fit within the philosophy of each concept -- and Anika is that person. She has 100 percent leeway in terms of what she wants to do."
But while Zappe is coming in on the ground up of Punch Bowl Social, the wine, beer and cocktail syllabus at Le Grand, she admits, doesn't need much more than a bit of tweaking. "I'll make a few changes to the wine list and cocktail menu, but I'm not planning to do anything drastic," she says. "There are good people behind the bar here, and I want to stay open to their ideas." And starting in May, you can find Zappe behind the bar at the bistro, where, she says, she'll "get her bartending legs back in swing."
And for his part, Thompson says that Zappe's talents can't be overstated. "She's been on my short list for a very long time, and the gravitas of her personality is the perfect personification of the culture at Punch Bowl. She epitomizes what Punch Bowl is all about -- a craft cocktail and culinary perspective combined with environmental awareness all pulled together within the modern world." says Thompson. "Anika has earned this job. She's going to thrive and really fucking dig it," he concludes.
And Zappe agrees: "The sheer level of challenge and opportunity to be so creative in the next six months to the next several years is so exciting to me, and I love the people I'm working with. It's like a band that plays beautiful music together," she says.