Remember going to the ocean for summer vacation and after you got burned sufficiently at the beach you’d go play mini golf at that crappy little beat-up course with fake pirates shouting “AVAST, me hearties” through tinny speakers and little waterfalls that would sweep your ball away?
This ain’t that.
Puttshack — a tech-infused, mini-golf facility with a bar and restaurant — opens at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 26, in the RiNo neighborhood. It’s got four separate, nine-hole courses, two of which are ADA-compliant. The national chain — with six other locations around the country, including Austin and Boston — was started by the guys behind Top Golf (and look what a boondoggle that turned out to be).
The balls have a “mini iPad” inside of them, according to a spokeswoman, patented Trackaball technology that keeps track of who is hitting the ball, the score and standings. And don’t worry about careening balls: There are little blocks about a foot behind the “tees” to prevent tipsy wildmen from sending one careening into your face.
Each course has enough cute bells, flashing lights, trivia and challenges to make for a fun night in a beautiful space decked out in nostalgia. Its bright colors, cool neon Ideoli signs and retro decor, high ceilings and gorgeous bar create a comfy setting to just hang out in. MTV-style videos run on monitors non-stop, but a spokeswoman said Rockies games will be available and a DJ will be on hand weekends.
Have 600 friends you want to party with? Puttshack’s 24,500 square feet of space — plus a 1,200-square-foot patio with a mural currently being painted by Denver artist Bobby Magee Lopez — can accommodate you.
On the menu: a selection of internationally themed flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and shareables that include pulled pork Korean BBQ Bao Buns ($14), Denver Tailpipes ($14, $1 of which goes to charity), and Shitake Mushroom Potstickers ($12). When we were there, the standout by far was the empanadas ($12), crunchy little puff-pastry pies of deliciousness filled with chorizo and cheese and other tasty stuff, and topped with a zingy chimichurri sauce. (Exec chef Jimmy Jump — formerly with Guard and Grace — says they are made by Lady Velasquez, and since they are so good I think she deserves to see her name in this preview.)
The beverage offerings are pretty substantial, with a good selection of wine, beer, spirits and craft cocktails — like a Spiced Pineapple Mezcal Margarita ($16) — and even shots (like the Lemon Drop, for $7).
Each round of golf is $14 per person. Two of us went through one nine-hole course in about 20 minutes, so it’s a pretty quick thrill. But since the venue is so welcoming, you won’t mind hanging out.
And ask for Lady’s empanadas.
Puttshack, 2813 Blake St., Denver. Open Sun.-Wed., 11 a.m. to midnight, Thurs.-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Kids can play until 8 p.m. Prebooking your party at puttshack.com is encouraged. On weekdays until 4 p.m., the second game is 50 percent off.
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