WEST LOOP — Denver-based Punch Bowl Social announced on Thursday it will open a 28,000-square-foot restaurant, bar and entertainment destination in the West Loop next October.
“The West Loop neighborhood is the fastest growing, hippest area in the city and undeniably the place to be,” Punch Bowl Social founder and CEO Robert Thompson said in a news release. "What we love, and what really taps into the essence of Punch Bowl Social, is how seamlessly the neighborhood blends industrial, gritty roots with an edgy-yet-modern vibe."
The location at 832 W. Fulton St. was initially slated to be a Brooklyn Bowl, according to plans submitted in 2014. But rumors have swirled for months that those plans had stalled.
There will still be bowling, in the form of eight bowling lanes, along with three private karaoke rooms, vintage video games, shuffleboard, Ping-Pong, bocce and skee-ball.
"In cold environments, people need a lot of indoor activities. We try to provide that," Thompson said.
The new outpost — Punch Bowl Social's eighth in the country, which includes spots in Schaumburg and Minneapolis — will comprise portions of the ground floor along Green Street and the second floor of the Fulton Street warehouse building, developers Convexity Properties said.
The news of Punch Bowl's first Chicago location, first reported by Eater, comes almost two years after its plans to open a 27,000 square-foot site inside a former Wicker Park furniture store at 1352 N. Milwaukee Ave. fell through.
In an interview, Thompson said he has been eyeing the Chicago market for a few years, and said that the West Loop is "a better fit than Wicker Park."
"We had too many building code issues with the Wicker Park building that just could not be overcome, that was the fatal blow. We don’t have that problem in this location. This building was constructed by Convexity for this specific use," Thompson said.
David Nelson, head of real estate at Convexity Properties, agreed Punch Bowl Social was a good fit.
“As developers, we’re always on the lookout for what’s new and innovative. In the West Loop neighborhood, it was critical that we find a tenant capable of delivering a distinctive experience that would resonate with millennials as well as other age groups,” Nelson said. “As the industry leader, Punch Bowl Social checks all those boxes and more. We’re looking forward to partnering with them on this exciting new project.”
Celebrity chef Hugh Acheson — a cookbook author, Top Chef judge and James Beard award winner — will create a custom menu for the restaurant part of Punch Bowl Social.
The brand’s "innovative beverage program offers old and new school cocktails, all natural sodas and fizzes, floats and shakes, fresh-pressed juices and the popular, sharable punches," the company said, adding that Punch Bowl Social's "scratch kitchen" serves weekend brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks.
Thompson said that the new Punch Bowl Social will create 225 new jobs for the area.
Eater said Punch Bowl Social's plans were a surprise to Brooklyn Bowl owner Peter Shapiro, who acknowledged his plans at the site were never "100 percent."
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here.