The iconic Airport Control Tower located inside the 80238 has officially taken flight with the long-awaited Punch Bowl Social Stapleton—an opening that residents and the city of Denver have anxiously anticipated.
Robert Thompson, Punch Bowl Social’s Founder and CEO, bought the control tower nearly two years ago. Rather than tear it down, he opted to pursue an adaptive redesign in order to preserve the former airport’s legacy. “As a designer, we always try to respect the environment we’re developing in,” Thompson told 5280 Magazine. “When the project was brought to us, we knew that it was not just an opportunity but also a big responsibility. We wanted to design within the history and the structure.”
Keeping the building’s historical context in mind, Punch Bowl Social employed Colorado-based firm OZ Architecture to incorporate a sense of locality and celebrate the building’s aviation past. Themes of “golden age of flight” are visible in the decor, with colorful suitcases stacked floor to ceiling, a “moon patio” located on the second floor, and more installations of re-purposed elements from the original space.
The 32,000-square-foot “Eatertainment” hub expanded the first two floors of the building attached to the tower, then added a 14,000-square-foot outdoor space filled with an AstroTurf pool, ping pong tables, giant jenga, regulations size bocce ball courts and more outdoor activations. Inside, guests can enjoy two full floors of everything from bowling, darts, giant scrabble, private karaoke rooms, photo booths, shuffleboards and bonzini. The third floor houses the company headquarters.
“As a Colorado company growing nationally, it actually meant a lot to me for us to move our headquarters here,” Thompson shared with Eater Denver. The whole project took about three years to complete.
The menu, led by Hugh Acheson and executive chef Brad Conroy, leans towards comfort, with a few aviation-themed additions: “in-flight” snacks of chile-lime fried peanuts; “pre-flight check” specials and an Aviation cocktail made with Breckenridge Distillery gin.
Punch Bowl Social Stapleton is located on Unita Street near Central Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Restaurant and bar hours vary, and information for group or business events, menus and more can be found here.
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