Eat Drink Social at Punch Bowl Social

“I’m going to let you guys just keep on living.”

These we’re the words of our server after taking our order during our night at Punch Bowl Social. And if they sound a little hang-loose, easy-ridin’, Lebowski-esq, well, that’s because they were. In fact, the whole night was.

(It also helps that they had bowling. That always puts one in the mood of The Dude.)

Punch Bowl Social was pure fun, from the bottom floor laundromat to the top tartan painted floor. Pure. Damn. Fun.

PUNCH BOWL SOCIAL

There are 13 Punch Bowl Socials located around the country, with two locally in Chicago and Schaumburg. The Denver based restaurant is basically all about enjoying life at all times, and while that sentiment can be a little over-the-top from time to time, it really is about what you make of it. For instance, this is what they say about themselves:

We don’t believe in uncomfortable chairs, bland walls, and fluorescent lights. Those things belong in the 9 to 5 world. We DO believe in a ‘dirty modern’ mash up of chandeliers, food for foodies, PBR tallboys, and craft beverages. We believe in brunch turning into a bowling party and bowling parties turning into all-you-can-sing karaoke. We believe in exploring evenings filled with shuffleboard and made-from-scratch chicken and waffles.

You put your responsible, ironed, adult pants on every day of the week and you deserve a place where ties and khakis are a choice not a requirement. We are that place—and there are untold possibilities waiting for you here. Come and discover for yourself.

That’s pretty damn spot on.

THE FOOD

Our meal, of course, began with food. It’s all American diner classics done with a twist and some of these dishes we’re absolutely incredible. Here is what we ate:

Complimentary biscuits with spicy jam.

Lobster Bacon Fries
House Cut Fries + Fresh Poached Lobster + Soured Cream + Garlic Mayo + ‘Tender Belly’ Bacon + Green Onions + Cheddar Cheese + Chives

SRF Dog
‘Snake River Farms’ Kobe Beef Frank + Fried Shallots + Southern Chow Chow + House Cut Fries

The Wedge
Iceberg Lettuce + ‘Tender Belly’ Bacon + Cherry Tomato + Chopped Egg + Blue Cheese + Buttermilk Dressing

OMFG GF Southern Fried Chicken
Buttermilk Brine + Hormone/Antibiotic Free Chicken + Organic Brown Rice Flour + Tomato Jalapeño Salad + Mint Vinaigrette

Shake for the King
Banana + Peanut Butter + Vanilla Milkshake + Whipped Cream + Banana Chips *Or Ask for a Chocolate King

They event have their own condiments, come made right here in Chicago:

And of course, we had to try the punch at Punch Bowl Social:

The Watermelon Polo Bowl
El Jimador Reposado Tequila + Teakoe’s Watermelon Spearmint Tea + McClary Bro’s Watermelon Shrub + House-Made Strawberry Syrup + Fresh Lime Juice

It’s A Mer-Man’s World
Old Forester Bourbon + Teakoe’s Pineapple Papaya Tea + House-Made Cardamom Syrup + Doctor Bird Jamaican Rum + Fresh Lime Juice

Lord Stanley’s Cup
Bacardi 8 + RumHaven Coconut Rum + Teakoe’s White Pear Fuji Apple Tea + Pineapple Fennel Seed Shrub + Fresh Lemon Juice

Now, I’ll say there we’re some incredible standouts. Specifically, the lobster bacon fries which are some of THE BEST FRIES in this entire city (and apparently, the only lobster bacon fries in the city as well.) The fried chicken was also seriously delicious with a nice, light breading. The wedge salad was crisp but had egg in it, when it really should have been cheese. Damn good milkshakes though. Mmmm. Plus, that Watermelon Polo cocktail was incredible. INCREDIBLE! Do not miss it.

Now, price is worth noting here. Everything seems a little higher than spots around the neighborhood but not overly so (except the chicken, which was three pieces at $18 with some side veggies. Damn!) but not by much. You do need to order a few for a full meal and it does add up. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, but it can feel a little bit like you’re paying for atmosphere. But seriously, and come with me on this adventure, because what an atmospheric it is.

THE ATMOSPHERE

This spot is an insane lovely wonderful weird mash-up of everything you could want. It’s got printings hanging above the bowling alley and neon chandeliers dangling from the ceiling.

There’s neon lights, pool-style bowling balls, 360 bars and a camp-style seating area.

There’s a room filled with tartan and games.

They’ve got Biggie on the wallpaper.

There’s a faux-hunting lounge with appropriate classy fireplace for deep contemplative thinking.

And of course, the first floor is a laundromat diner that you can grab milkshakes in and sit beneath drying socks, for the sake of everything 1940’s!

Plus, for some reason, something about this appeals to me, even though I can’t put my finger on what I like about it…

THE THINGS TO DO

What do you want to do? Want to play pool? Giant Jenga? Giant Scrabble? Elongated Foosball? Virtual reality games? Sing karaoke? Shoot darts? Toss bocce? Bowl? Throw quarters into arcade machines? Take ridiculous photos in a photo booth?

Yes. The answer is yes to all of them.

It’s impossible to be bored here. There is something for everyone to do always and it’s laid out in such a wonderful way that every time you turn the corner, there’s something new to do.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We came on a Wednesday and it was perfect for us, which means that it was near empty. It meant that everything was open, we could choose which karaoke room we wanted to sing in and explore the spot to our heart’s content.

This is NOT the case on the weekend.

By Friday (and really, Thursday night), Punch Bowl Social is a party spilling out the front doors onto the patio. Most of the seats throughout the space are first-come, first-serve so people will be standing and dancing everywhere and anywhere they can.

I say this to demo what kind of spot it is for what kind of person you are. Want to party, come on the weekends. Want to just enjoy everything is has to offer without the crowd. Come any other night.

When we left, we we’re smiling. Honestly, for all the rah-rah push for you to have all the fun you can have can while here, this is a really fun spot. Shamaine and I had a blast and will be back. You should check it out too.

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