With sounds and bells that remind your editor of halcyon days spent at Disneyland, Urban Putt, the Mission's newest theme bar and eatery, opens its doors today. The brainchild of Steve Fox, a former Editorial Director at PC World and CNET, Urban Putt features classic San Francisco signifiers, molded into miniature golf course decor, like the Transamerica Pyramid, the Painted Ladies, Lotta's Fountain, and the Little Giant Gold Hydrant. There's even a dark 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea-esque hole full of gadgetry and levers, as well as a Skee-ball-themed hole, an elaborate Dia De Los Muertos hole, and more.
Fox has been a longtime mini-golf hobbyist having hosted his first "Bring Your Own Hole" mini-golf party at his home 20 years ago. Amongst his creative friends, these parties became hugely popular, increasingly elaborate annual events, which ultimately lead him to quit his day job and put all his energy behind opening Urban Putt. As his wife Leslie Crawford told him at the time, "If that's your mid-life crisis, great. Go for it. It's better than you finding a blonde and buying a convertible."
Over a year ago Fox found the perfect space, an abandoned mortuary at 22nd and South Van Ness that had sat vacant for fifteen years, and began rallying designers and friends to help bring his vision to life. In total, 65 designers were involved with the project, from architects to sound designers to set painters, all working to create the many various aspects of this 14-hole, steampunk-meets-Rube-Goldberg experience. As Fox puts it, they've taken miniature golf and and tried to make it "an original artform" more than the traditional, kitschy experience. "We wanted to create something artful and wonderful."
Upstairs there's a bar and restaurant boasting fare from chef Dane Boryta (Bottle Cap, Sens). As for the menu, it's deep-dish pizza and burger-driven, with a variety of salads and other stuff, and a full cocktail menu will be available as of next week. (It's beer and wine only for opening week.) A menu of portable "fairway bites" will be available downstairs for taking onto the golf course, including things like chicken and waffle skewers and fried olives, and there's a bar downstairs as well. The logistics of how people will eat, drink, and interact with the course itself remain to be worked out, but we're told that there will a sign-up-and-take-a-number system for limiting the number of teams on the course at once. Luckily, upstairs, there's more Skee-ball, and a basketball hoop game to play while you wait..
You can find the entire the entire menu here (pdf), via Inside Scoop.
For one round of golf, adults pay $12 and children cost $8.
Urban Putt: 1096 South Van Ness (at 22nd Street), 415 341-1080; Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-12 a.m., Friday, 4 p.m. - 2 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Restaurant: Sunday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.
Jay Barmann also contributed to this report.