Former CNET editor and longtime miniature golf aficionado Steve Fox has just signed a 10-year lease on a space at South Van Ness and 22nd Street, where he intends to transform the former mortuary into something much livelier: a full service, 70-seat restaurant and bar with 18 holes of indoor putt-putt.
Fox has been throwing ad hoc mini golf parties in his home for nearly 20 years, Inside Scoop reports today. The bar/restaurant/playplace will be called Urban Putt and Fox has a history of shoehorning diminutive (even by tiny putt-putt standards) courses into tiny spaced. During last year's PARK(ing) Day, Fox built a replica of Golden Gate Park in a parking space on Mission Street in SoMa. Even so, Fox will have to get creative here. From Inside Scoop:
The space — 1096 South Van Ness — is a former mortuary, vacant since 1999, clocking in at about 9,000 square feet total, including the basement and the kitchen-to-be. The course itself will feature 18 holes, naturally, though Fox describes it more of a “jewel box of a course,” making creative use of the space with elaborate electronic and mechanical components.
“There will be plenty of verticality since the holes will not be expansive, so we’ll get imaginative,” he says.
Since Fox seems more interested in the sport and less interested in the food and beverage side of the business, he's bringing in a couple ringers to round out his foursome: An unidentified but apparently "well-known" restaurant group will be doing California comfort food. Architect Matt Hollis, who renovated the warehouse space on 17th that became Mission Bowling Club, will be doing the redesign.
The Bon Vivants, fresh off a couple of successful launches with the temporary (but now shuttered) Rio Grande on Market Street and the three-star Trick Dog at 20th and Folsom, will consult on the drinks. Assuming they don't hit a rough spot with the permitting, the space should be ready for tee off in late 2013 or early 2014.
Now if we can just get a roller rink to move in around 19th Street and convert all those tire stores into bumper cars, we can turn this strip of South Van Ness into the city's own little amusement park.