The magic token. This is what you need to start your journey through Urban Putt, a 14-hole indoor miniature golf course in San Francisco. If Alice in Wonderland and Salvador Dalí teamed up with the folks in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and mixed a little modern architecture and engineering, I believe they’d create something like this place. Although the mastermind design behind Urban Putt really does put it in a class of its own. The man behind the magic is Steve Fox, a former publisher and editor who has clearly moved on to greener pastures. My husband and I knew Steve from our days at CNET long, long ago (but now I’m dating myself). Urban Putt is a must-see for locals who appreciate ingenuity and out-of-towners who are tired of the usual tourist spots… and want to hang out in the hipster Mission District.
But if you really want to know why I love this place, read on:
VIEW FROM THE BAR
Located near the entrance to the mini course and open at 11:00am on weekends, you can enjoy a drink while watching parents chase their kid’s errant golf balls. For late-night golfers, the bar is open until midnight for post-game burgers and cocktails. What’s not to love?
HOMEMADE CHERRY SODA
Who does that? The kids were thrilled to watch our friendly bartender mix a made-to-order soda before their very eyes. And he even put a cherry on top.
I love the steampunk-inspired designs, like this one at Hole 3: Penny Pitch.
Miniature golf AND good food? This was an only-in-San-Francisco moment. After the game, we walked upstairs to their restaurant where we enjoyed poke, french toast, chilaquiles and a few snacks, including my favorite 4505 Chicharrones (bonus points).
Here’s our friendly mixologist making my first (or second) pomegranate bellini, the Mother’s Day Special. It’s an impressive full bar for such a small space. So yes you can have a Manhattan.
My pictures are terrible, I couldn’t quite get a clear image of the sleepwalker installation by Dan Rosenfeld. We got jaw-dropping looks from our kids when the little “person” jumped out and touched their fingers. Watch the video for a complete story.
Hole 2: Skeeball
Hole 3: Penny Pitch
Hole 9: Dia de los Muertos
Hole 11: Golfland at the Beach
At the heart of it all, the putting green. A compact space that somehow manages multiple active golf balls through a carnival of obstacles, making each hole a journey of surprises. What a delight.
For the last hole, Fibonacci’s Finale, the ball rolls up and down and is lifted upward, then dropped into this wire grid container. Each ball is reused for the next player. There’s my girl adding our scores. I lost.