Kathryn Scott Osler/Denver Post/Getty Images

Punch Bowl Social offers a unique aeronautical experience

Aric Jenkins
November 29, 2017

Diners and drinkers in Denver might actually start enjoying their trips to the airport.

Well, maybe not the operational Denver International Airport — but rather the defunct Stapleton International Airport that served as the city’s primary hub from 1929 to 1995.

That’s because the only remaining structure of the since-demolished airport, a lone air traffic control tower, has been converted into an “eatertainment” venue with stunning views of Denver below.

The venue, operated by Denver-based company Punch Bowl Social, also offers bowling and karaoke along with its diner-style food and cocktail bar.

"It was an exciting opportunity to give back to our home state of Colorado, and these are truly the last assembled bricks of the old airport that was so omnipresent in Denver for decades," Robert Thompson, founder and CEO of Punch Bowl — which has locations nine states — told CNN.

Denver for years has been looking to renovate the air tower rather than demolish it like the rest of the airport.

"Designing and reusing a former airport tower is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance an iconic municipal structure while revitalizing that which was once abandoned," Rebecca Stone, managing principal at OZ Architecture, who worked on the Punch Bowl project, told CNN.

Punch Bowl’s Stapleton location honors its aeronautical past, with aviation-themed wall decorations and drink offerings including, of course, a classic gin-based Aviation.

A Federal Aviation Agency controller works atop the 186-foot control tower at Stapleton International Airport, supervising both general aviation and commercial air traffic, on March 14, 1966.
Dave Mathias/Denver Post/Getty Images

The renovated Stapleton Tower officially opened for business earlier this month. It’s Punch Bowl’s newest location, with other venues soon opening in Sacramento, Atlanta and Chicago — along with six other cities across the U.S.

But none of them are likely to be constructed in an abandoned airport tower, so next time you’re in Denver, consider checking out the new facility for an experience unique to the Stapleton neighborhood.

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