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Punch Bowl Social Considering Columbus Expansion

Walker Evans Walker Evans Punch Bowl Social Considering Columbus ExpansionPhoto provided by Punch Bowl Social.
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If you haven’t already gotten enough of the arcade, pinball and bowling trend in Columbus, then you’ll be pleased to learn that another option may soon arrive by way of Denver. Entertainment venue Punch Bowl Social opened in the Baker District just outside Downtown Denver in 2012 and has rapidly expanded in the four years since. Locations are now open in Austin, Portland, Detroit, Cleveland and Suburban Chicago with new venues coming soon in Sacramento, Indianapolis and Brooklyn.

Punch Bowl Social Founder Robert Thompson confirmed that Columbus is officially on their radar as well.

“We’re very interested in Columbus — it’s one of my favorite markets in the country and great size city for what we do,” he confirmed over the phone yesterday. “We don’t have anything lined up there yet, but we’ve been looking for a couple of years.”

Thompson said that their locations are typically 20,000 to 25,000 square feet in size, large enough to accommodate a full restaurant and bar, bowling lanes, skee ball, foosball, arcade games, ping pong and more. If the concept sounds like deja vu, it’s likely because we just reported last week on a similar new locally-based concept called Pins Mechanical Company, which plans to open this summer Downtown.

When asked about the existing market competition from establishments like 16-Bit, Old North Arcade, Pins, Brewcadia and Kingmakers, Thompson said that what they do is generally a bit different.

“Other companies usually focus on entertainment first and pull in the food behind it — instead, we put our focus on food and beverage first and apply integrity and discipline behind our restaurant,” he explained. “I think we’d feel comfortable opening in Columbus — there’s room for everyone.”

Thompson has opened Punch Bowl Social venues in both urban and suburban locations in markets throughout the country, so their consideration for a Columbus location does not necessarily need to be right next door to a similar concept Downtown. He said that there are other criteria they keep in mind when it comes to site selection.

“There needs to be density to the surrounding area,” he said. “We’re a millennial-focused business, so we look for nearby multifamily housing and density. There are some exceptions to that — like in Austin where we’re just outside of Downtown in a lifestyle center — but the central areas seem to be where we look first.”

Thompson added that any leads on Columbus locations could be referred through Dan Nesson in their development office.

For more information, visit www.punchbowlsocial.com.

All photos provided by Punch Bowl Social.

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