Exclusive first look: Punch Bowl - Social Food & Drink, opening at the end of October
A coffee lounge, which will morph into a cocktail parlor in the evening, will benefit from sofas and cushy chairs that invite lingering and garage doors that open to one of two patios, complete with a fire pit, while the main bar, located squarely in the center of the main-level space, is a sphere of wood illuminated by a rustic deer-antler chandelier and surrounded by high-tops surfaced with little marbles and sealed with resin. "This is the Ferrari engine of Punch Bowl," says Thompson, "the rowdy centerpiece." And it's the focus of his beverage program, which is environmentally conscious, as is the space. "We won't be serving any bottled beers," he maintains. Instead, he''ll pour twelve draft beers, most of them local, and serve the remaining brews in cans. And while he's still working out the wine selections, he's hoping that he can do all keg wines, which would eliminate bottles altogether. "It's a hard thing to accomplish with three bars, but we're definitely going to try."
The mammoth quarters also include the "Holiday Lodge," an opulent, high-ceilinged parlor room that's steeped in Victorian trappings -- and has its own two-lane bowling alley. Bedecked with a fireplace and Corinthian pillars, it'll also boast carpeting. "This room, like everything else, is part of the juxtaposition of the modern, Victorian, industrial and modern mountain elements feel," says Thompson, noting, too, that the room can be rented out for private parties. "It's Victorian elegance ratcheted up," he says. And it has its own "Holiday Lodge" signage, which Thompson reveals was the impetus for his design theme. "I came across a photo of a cabin somewhere with a bright-red sign that said "Holiday Lodge' above it, and there was something about the colors, the warmth and the organic feel of the sign that just resonated with me."
That theme drifts to the six-lane bowling alley, also on the main floor. Aristocratic chandeliers, hued turquoise, are suspended from the ceiling, and on the back side of the lanes, where you'll often find TVs, will be throwback hunting images. Next to the bowling alley is a two-story, faux elevator kiosk that supplies rental equipment.
And that's not all: Thompson has secured 125 parking spaces for Punch Bowl Social, a boon, considering the difficulty of parking in Baker. Next spring, the venue will have a rooftop herb and vegetable garden, and the space will be bike-friendly. "We'll have bike racks both inside and outside, and we really encourage people to ride their bikes whenever they can," he says.
When Punch Bowl opens later this month, it'll serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late-night menu, along with an early-morning grab-and-go menu of breakfast burritos and pastries, plus coffee from its barista bar. And while Thompson says the menus for each service are still evolving, the emphasis will be on "diner food from all four corners of the country that keeps a high level of culinary integrity and incorporates novel twists."
We'll give you an early glimpse of some of the dishes from the new menus later this week, but in the meantime, I stopped by Punch Bowl yesterday and took some shots of the space -- which, while still in the construction phase, is definitely coming together.