Cleveland has always been able to withstand a solid right cross to the jaw. And few places better exemplify that gritty fortitude than the Flats, where Punch Bowl Social, the 27,000-square-foot diner, bar and game stop, opens Sept. 19. "We like to take the brand ... to what we think are culturally interesting cities," says Robert Thompson, Punch Bowl Social's founder and CEO. "People that flew the coop [from Cleveland] are coming back because there's so much opportunity." With eight bowling lanes, pingpong, Skee-Ball and a 4,000-square-foot rooftop deck, there is plenty to interest Clevelanders too. We check out three ways the venue plans to shake up the Flats when it rolls into town.
The four-person, 4-by-4-foot tables have a colorful felt ring rimmed by a trough to catch the ousted marbles. "There's something about going back to your childhood and shooting a game of marbles," says Thompson. "We may be the only restaurant or bar in the country that's featuring marbles."
Punch Bowl is making chicken the new turntable. Brined in Pabst Blue Ribbon, Jameson whiskey and pickle juice, the dish, which tastes like beer and spicy pickles, gets topped with mustard cream and roasted veggies ($17). "If you sprinkle something in whiskey and PBR, you've got to have a hipster connection to it," says Thompson.