After months -- hell, years! -- of waiting and watching, Punch Bowl - Social Food & Drink, Robert Thompson's 24,000-square-foot gastro-diner, coffee bar, lounge, bowling alley, ping-pong powerhouse, pool hall, marbles mecca, throwback video arcade and game hang (deck-shuffle, shuffleboard, darts, pinball, Foosball and board games round out the amusements), will finally open to the public Saturday morning, following a blow-out party on Friday night (beginning at 8 p.m.) to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, a local nonprofit.
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"We've been doing mock service all week -- breakfast, lunch and diner -- and our management team looks like AMC's The Walking Dead, but all of us are thrilled to be opening the doors and serving guests," says Thompson, adding that's he's receiving upwards of twenty e-mails a day from people wanting to book private parties. "I keep getting notes from people telling me that they've created a Facebook event page for twenty on Sunday -- it's crazy."
But the fervor leading up to PBS has been nothing short of exhilarating, insists Thompson, who also owns Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar. "The ground floor enthusiasm has been nothing like I've ever seen or smelled," he tells me. "Ever since I told Westword two years that this was launching, there's been a tremendous amount of enthusiasm -- and I don't think that Denver is going to let us open quietly. We're blessed and scared shitless at the same time."
Thompson, however, seemed remarkably calm (as did his exec chef, Sergio Romero) yesterday when I stopped by to take photos of the finished space, which also includes a photo booth, cotton candy machine, opulent chandeliers and pillars, a bustling open kitchen and marble-topped bar tables.
If you can't wait until Saturday to check out the space, we have a kaleidoscopic gallery of photos for you to peruse, and tickets still remain for the Friday night bash, which requires a $15 donation, the proceeds of which go directly to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado. The festivities include live music from The Epilogues, and drinks and food (from the full menu) will be available for purchase.
"We're proud to bring PBS to the Baker District and launch it in conjunction with such a worthy charity as Big Brothers & Big Sisters," says Thompson. "It's been a long road, but PBS is positioned to be the greatest neighborhood game changer since the Wynkoop opened in LoDo in the '80s."
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Starting Saturday, PBS will be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m; breakfast will be served until 3 p.m. daily. For more info, call 303-765-2695.