A unique Denver restaurant that was two years in the making, two years running and two months closed due to coronavirus will not reopen its doors.
Denver-based Punch Bowl Social — the restaurant, bowling alley, arcade and karaoke bar in-one — on Tuesday announced its Stapleton location’s permanent closure.
The 32,000-square foot entertainment destination opened in 2017 at the site of the former Stapleton Airport and beneath the old air traffic control tower. After standing vacant for more than 20 years, the building was expanded in 2016 specifically for Punch Bowl Social’s use.
In a statement released Tuesday, Punch Bowl Social founder and CEO Robert Thompson said the closure comes after he failed to reach a new lease agreement with his landlord in Stapleton. Thompson said the chain’s Schaumburg, Ill. outpost will not reopen for the same reason.
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But the original Denver Punch Bowl Social on South Broadway will be back, according to the release, as will the company’s other Chicago-area location, though no reopening date was specified for either. Punch Bowl Social’s website lists 18 active locations around the country. All have been closed since March 15.
“When we re-open across the country, we will do so smartly and with partners who are in it with us,” Thompson said in the release. “We appreciate that landlords are trying to ensure the success of their businesses, however, we were unable to reach satisfactory new terms to move forward with our Stapleton, Colo., and Schaumburg, Ill. landlord. As such, we determined it was in Punch Bowl Social’s best interest to sever ties.”
Punch Bowl Social laid off around 90 employees at its Stapleton location at the start of the coronavirus shutdown. By late March, the company had defaulted on its loan and was facing foreclosure.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which in July 2019 paid $140 million for a 58.6% stake in Punch Bowl Social, decided then not to reinvest in the brand, according to a March filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But Thompson on Tuesday told the Denver Business Journal that Punch Bowl Social, as a concept, will reopen. He said that he would have an announcement soon regarding the details of the company’s investment and its future.
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