Credit: Urban Putt
Have you ever canceled plans to get drinks with coworkers or a love interest thanks to your budding anxiety of whether hanging out — while staying relatively sober — at a bar would become lame or awkward? If you’re anything similar to some 99 percent of the population, then the answer is most likely yes. Luckily, the solution to quelling any boredom or social ineptness while continuing to drink and be merry is simple: Go to Urban Putt. Urban Putt is a one-of-a-kind venue in San Francisco’s Mission District. As San Francisco’s first and only indoor miniature golf course, this unique venue has entertainment, a slew of creative house-made cocktails, a selection of West Coast craft beers, outstanding bar bites, and a full-service restaurant that serves California style comfort foods.
On the entertainment front, Urban Putt offers a state-of-the-art, San Francisco themed 14-hole mini-golf course. The intricately designed course skillfully highlights iconic San Francisco presenting earthquakes, the Transamerica Pyramid building, cable cars, and The Painted Ladies (a row of famous Victorian homes in the city), and more. In addition, there are arcade games such as Skeeball and basketball Pop-a-Shot for those who aren’t into mini-golf.
As if mini-golf and arcade games aren’t reasons enough to check out this hotspot, Urban Putt also serves fresh, internationally influenced American cuisine, placing the emphasis on taste rather than flare. Chef Dane Boryta’s menu offers innovative starters such as the rich and filling duck confit Poutine; the sweet and savory fried chicken and waffle skewers; and the spicy yet flavorful roasted pumpkin and queso fresco empanadas. For those who prefer lighter fare, chef Boryta also has a nice selection of salads such as the Sweet Gem Caesar with pickled beets.
A favorite among patrons are Urban Putt’s cheesy deep dish corn meal crust pizzas. Mushroom-lovers will enjoy The Gimme which has both smoked mozzarella and gorgonzola cheeses and marinated mushrooms atop a classic seasoned tomato sauce. Fans of Mexican food may like the Back Nine, which incorporates a black bean sauce, a cilantro-pumpkin seed pesto, a variety of fresh toppings, and, of course, cotija cheese. Other pizzas showcase specialty toppings such as the hearty chicken merguez and fennel pork sausage and chicken meatballs.
Urban Putt has an entrée menu perfect for any palate. Being the carnivore that I am, I’m a fan of the juicy grilled hanger steak, which comes with rainbow chard and mashed potatoes. The restaurant also offers a pork chop that pairs well with its mustard barbecue sauce. Moreover, the restaurant delivers seafood options like the almond-crusted Petrale sole and the Southern classic: shrimp with cheesy Carolina white corn grits. Standout sides include the flavor-packed Brussels sprouts, biscuits with jalapeño honey butter, and the always indulgent mac and cheese (which you can add bacon to!). Urban Putt also serves a signature UP organic beef burger which comes with melted onions and the works.
If you came to drink, then get ready for some fantastic artisanal cocktails. While it does offer a good list of beers and wines, Urban Putt’s cocktails steal the show. My personal favorites are the Hibiscus Paloma with tequila, elderflower, grapefruit, and hibiscus soda; and the Apple Shrub with cider, thyme, vodka, and a sprig of rosemary. The bar also concocts exceptional classic drinks made with inventive twists. Examples being the coffee old fashioned, the vodka tea sour, or the Marmalade Collins, which actually has marmalade in it. The bar even has a creative list of shots to order from. Adventurous drinkers can down shots like the pickle back, the Rojos Ojos (a Bloody Mary-type shot), and a homemade sweet tea vodka shot. In efforts to stave off any chance of a hangover, Urban Putt’s addictive Bar Bites feature smaller portions of its entrées, as well as fun appetizers like its bacon deviled eggs, chipotle pork bites, and beef or pork hotlink corn dogs.
Finish off your night with a delectable treat off the venue’s self-proclaimed scrumptious dessert menu. Indulgent choices such as the Challah Bread Pudding with the option of rum butter sauce or caramel sauce; graham cracker crusted lemon cream pie; and the candy bar bites (think Rice Krispies meringue and Applewood-smoked bacon crumble), make the decision tough.