New Fort Worth bar punches back with duckpin bowling and nostalgic theme
A fun bar that features high-tech bowling with a retro vibe will open in Fort Worth's West Seventh district this summer. Called Junk Punch, it's a new concept from hospitality group Funky Lime, and will open at 2805 Bledsoe St., the space that was previously home to the short-lived Punch Bowl Social, which closed in 2019.
Funky Lime is the group that owns high-concept venues such as Reservoir, The Whiskey Garden, and Your Mom's House. Junk Punch is a place to be young and carefree again, says founder Emil Bragdon.
The bar will feature bowling and games, plus a retro design that will take you back to your childhood.
"The slogan is 'I'm never growing up' — we wanted to create a place where you can relive your youth," Bragdon says.
That'll include a full complement of games such as duckpin bowling and "table service" darts with a high-tech spin.
"It's darts, but with an online component that tracks every one of your throws digitally," he says. "It makes it fun even if you don't usually like darts."
Duckpin bowling is a style that was previously unique to the Northeast but has become a trend. It uses smaller bowling balls that almost fit in your hand, and smaller pins.
They'll also have arcade games including a Mario Kart with four steering wheels that can accommodate up to four players at one time.
"All our arcade games will be free," Bragdon says.
They won't serve food although they will offer catering for bigger parties through their sibling bar, Reservoir.
The signature cocktail will be the Junk Punch, served in a vessel that looks like trousers. "It's a share-me drink, similar to those punch bowl drinks, but in a big plastic pair of trousers," he says.
A junk punch is the act of punching someone in the genitals, best popularized by Lake Bell and Rob Cordry in the 2008 movie What Happens in Vegas.
"This pandemic, everyone has suffered, but for the hospitality industry, it was brutal," Bragdon says. "Being forced to shut down, there was nothing we could do — it was like getting hit in the crotch. It's something that happened in our lifetime that we're never going to forget."
"So this is like an ode to everyone that took it in the junk," he says. "Inside the bar, I'm doing a little area where it explains where the name comes from. But it's also time to move on and embrace the positivity starting to happen now."
That's part of the context for the bar's retro design, with cues that evoke the '70s, '80s, even '90s.
"It'll be a place where you can take your mind off of everything that's happened recently in this world and remember what it's like to be carefree," he says.