Washington DC

First Look: A Grown-Up Mini Golf Course With a Food Hall Lands in DC

Swingers' Dupont Circle opening marks the first US location for this London-born chain.

Swingers interior
Photo by Swingers/Rey Lopez

There are few better ways to celebrate a return to normalcy than with a hearty dose of nostalgia. And that’s precisely what you’ll find Swingers, a new adults-only mini golf course, which opened in Dupont Circle this week.

The sprawling 20,000 square-foot complex replaces Buffalo Billiards, a popular bar with games, and the Front Page, a happy hour must-visit for Capitol Hill interns and DC residents alike, that both closed in 2019. The new venue is nothing short of an indoor playground, complete with craft cocktails and gourmet bites from local vendors as part of a mini food hall.

Co-founded by Matt Grech-Smith and Jeremy Simmonds, the opening marks the third Swingers location worldwide, and the first in the United States. “In 2014, my co-founder and I were looking at the London market and realized that people wanted more from their nights out,” Grech-Smith tells Thrillist. “People didn’t just want to eat and drink, they wanted a fun activity—ideally something that looks good on social media.”

Swingers bar
Photo by Swingers/Rey Lopez

Enter mini golf. For Grech-Smith, it’s an activity that brings about a sense of nostalgia, but this isn’t just any mini golf course. “Swingers introduces the holy trinity that the Brits’ call crazy golf,” Grech-Smith explains. “It’s like mini golf but adds in gourmet street food provided by well-known local restaurateurs, meticulously hand-crafted cocktails, a live DJ, and unites them all into one incredible social experience.”

The two nine-hole golf courses come with a wide range of obstacles to test your putting skills. You’ll have to navigate your way through windmills, swinging clock pendulums, and other themed challenges. Golf “caddies” guide you through the course, and deliver cocktails while you’re playing. One round of golf costs $19 during off-peak times (Sunday through Wednesday before 5pm) and $24 during all other times. 

While the Swingers team creates its cocktails in-house, it is partnering with a local heavy hitter to deliver on the food. KNEAD Hospitality + Design, the restaurant group behind popular restaurants like The Grill, Mi Vida, and Gatsby, among others, has four food stalls at Swingers.

Swingers food
Photo by Knead Hospitality And Design/Rey Lopez

There’s Lil’ Succotash, which will offer a pared down version of the menu at Ed Lee’s Succotash; Tu Taco, which will provide Mexican offerings like tacos and other bites from Roberto Santibañez of Mi Vida; Kneadza Pizza, the restaurant group’s first take on Italian pies; and Mah-Ze-Dahr, a delightful bakery serving up pastries and soft serve for dessert.

The DC influence is also made apparent on the drink menu, where local beers and spirits reign supreme. You can either sit at one of the four bars in the expansive venue to enjoy your glass of wine or craft cocktail, or bring your drink on the course with you. There is plenty of seating across all of Swingers, so any time you’re ready to take a food (or drink) break, you’ll likely be able to find space.

Ferris sour cocktail
Ferris sour cocktail | Photo by Knead Hospitality And Design/Rey Lopez

Food and drink packages start at $39 per person for two drinks and a round of crazy golf, but you can also purchase food and beverage a la carte once you’re on-site. And just because you come to Swingers doesn’t mean you have to play golf—you’re more than welcome to enjoy the menu sans any physical activity. 

“We want guests to be able to have as much fun as possible, which is why we’ve curated an absurdly fun game, great cocktails and the most delicious food possible,” Grech-Smith says.

Swingers is open from noon to midnight daily. You can book a tee time for up to 20 people as well as food and beverage packages by checking out the Swingers website

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Elsie Yang is a Thrillist contributor. Follow her on Instagram.
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