Denver-based “eatertainment” brand Punch Bowl Social will open its first location on the East Coast this weekend in Northern Virginia, rolling out a bevy of interactive games — think bowling and foosball — for young professionals in Arlington to play while enjoying bar food and alcoholic punch bowls.
Located at 4238 Wilson Boulevard in Ballston, the new location is scheduled to open on Saturday, December 8. Punch Bowl Social has grown to 15 locations over six years. A D.C. location is expected to open in Navy Yard in the spring.
The latest color-soaked addition is the first Punch Bowl Social with three floors — and the kickoff to Forest City Realty Trust’s $330 million transformation of Ballston Common mall into Ballston Quarter. As an ode to Arlington’s former life as an amusement park, the cavernous space plays up a circus theme. Framed paintings of elephants, light fixtures that look like trapeze bars, and vintage circus tickets are splashed across walls.
Founder and CEO Robert Thompson, who lived and worked in the D.C. area in his 20s, drew other inspiration from the area to craft the look. Geometric patterns mimic D.C.’s Metro station architecture and the Pentagon, and there’s two “Virginia is for Lovers”-inspired karaoke rooms. Huge #ARL letters hover above its bowling lanes.
Punch Bowl’s Colorado-based design team wanted to create a trippy ski lodge feel, adorning the space with turquoise antler wallpaper, tree stump tables, and shiny white deer busts.
Because millennials are the target market, promoting sustainability was key. In partnership with Shinola, Punch Bowl built a stationary bike near the patio that can generate enough alternative energy to charge a phone. There’s also not one bottled beer on-site, only cans and 12 brews on draft, most of which are local. Pine trees killed by the notorious mountain pine beetle in Colorado have been salvaged and turned into dining tables.
Punch Bowl Social’s hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to midnight on Sunday.
Scroll on for a look inside Ballston’s new three-story millennial funhouse: