Lonely Planet Writer

You can now dine in a renovated airport control tower in Denver

After lying idle for more than 20 years, an abandoned airport control tower in Denver has been given a new, kitsch lease of life.

The airport tower has been excellent preserved. Photo by Amber Boutwell, Punch Bowl Social

The airport control tower was part of the Stapleton International Airport which was the city’s primary airport before being decommissioned in 1995 and replaced with Denver International Airport. Much of the property has been redeveloped but until recently the tower has been left vacant.

Gastropub Punch Bowl Social saw an opportunity for a unique setting for a new restaurant as well as chance to preserve a piece of local history from the threat of demolition. While the interior needed to be restored and completely revamped, the structure itself was sound, and the team behind the redesign spent a number of years undertaking this preservation and renovation.

The design is meant to give a nod to the golden age of air travel. Photo by Amber Boutwell, Punch Bowl Social

The restaurant covers 32,000 square feet in total with the retro interior design reminiscent of the golden age of travel. Even the panels on the exterior building have been painstakingly removed and preserved before setting them back into the building.

Inside, visitors can find a surprising mix of bowling lanes, private karaoke rooms, arcade games, beer gardens and lounging areas. The menu will be Punch Bowl Social’s mix of brunch, sharing platters, cocktails and beer menu. Robert Thompson, CEO of Punch Bowl Social, called the project “an incredible effort, and more importantly an honor, to preserve the former control tower.”

“We are intentional about seeking locations that have historic roots but need a new purpose. We’ve done it at our original location on Broadway in Denver and have projects in San Diego and Brooklyn that will also adapt historic properties for re-use as Punch Bowl Socials.”

There are plenty of things to keep you entertained. Photo by Amber Boutwell, Punch Bowl Social

Reservation’s for Stapleton’s Punch Bowl Social are now open online.