Putt Putt Pass

Urban Putt, the Mission's Forthcoming Mini Golf Cocktail Lounge, Seeks Donations to Finish Development

Edit: Original photo removed due to a copyright issue from Curbed SF, but you can see it here

I’m pretty conflicted on this one.

Urban Putt, which promises a “steampunk-style” mini-golf course and cocktail bar stuffed into an old funeral home, is now seeking $50,000 in donations on Kickstarter.  What for? They’ve always spent $750,000 on construction and they need the cash to finish it all up.

Of course, handing over free money to for-profit businesses over Kickstarter already grates me—especially given how many local non-profits really need the money right now.  And considering Urban Putt is being designed by the folks responsible for Mission Bowling Club and the bar is managed by the mixology thought leaders from Trick Dog, it seems particularly undeserving (seriously, any person who donates to Trick Dog needs to be sent back to their manufacturer under warranty).

But if you look past all that and their assuredly ridiculous clientele, it probably won’t be that bad.  Take the above photo: it’s skeeball and mini golf. Skeeball and mini golf!

The whole place looks like a competent burner’s putt-putt paradise:

It certainly doesn’t look like another twee speakeasy with dreamy assholes in suspenders serving up cocktails in mason jars.

So if this is your sort of thing, you can donate over on Kickstarter.  Or don’t.  Whatever.

UPDATE: Urban Putt’s “Chief Greenskeeper” Steve Fox responds to some our (and commenter’s) criticisms in the comments.

Comments (19)

I don’t believe in donating any money to a for profit business. And also this is a very small space that is going to be expensive to go to.
I don’t really see them as contributing to the force out. Speculators do that. Big developers do that. Outside equity funds buying up million dollar condos do that. But really. That much money? They could’ve done it on the edge of oakland with tons more space and made a huge
course with all the yuppie accruements half the price. Why in the little funeral home? Gonna be gone in two years. Market’s gonna crash.
QE will have to stop. Kinda neat idea, but not my thing. Sorry they didn’t have some workers managed clothing factory, or one stop affordable direct from farms distribution store in mind. Guess that’s my problem of community. Too bad I’m outta the loop.

Giving them money for nothing in return doesn’t seem very appealing, but for $25 you get two tickets once it opens. That seems potentially interesting.

I certainly would never donate money, but this could be fun.
Trick dog has excellent drinks, I live on 24th and walk down there occasionally. That said, I wish SF had a cocktail bar like The Passenger in DC. I last went there a few years ago, just a great bar. Hell I wish SF had a lot of DC bars, rent in some areas is still cheap enough to do really weird things. Like the bar on Bladensburg where the owner lives above it and comes down occasionally in his underwear to dance with people who are dancing to bizarre music being spun by any asshole who’s up for it. I forget the name now, something lonely hearts club.

I’m not sure I’d ever wish DC bars upon SF, but the WND / Passenger was certainly alright. The Warehouse was especially great when they held shows and even more so when they housed the Washington Psychotronic Film Society screenings with $2 suggested donations…the crowds were rarely larger than 12, but that is the case with anything remotely interesting / out of the ordinary happening in DC.

I think the Bladensburg bar you’re talking about is Jimmy Valentine’s.

I’m with you on being annoyed about for-profit businesses using Kickstarter. That’s what small business loans are for. And if you have a car, you can drive down the 280 for 10 minutes and go to the driving range that’s off Sneath, you get a whole bucket of balls for something like $12, and it’s a lot more fun.

Why on earth would anyone be compelled to donate to a pool of 6.25% of remaining costs when a developers already that committed (in costs) and have actual established backers and partnerships? These schlubs can go fuck themselves.

FYI, if you ever make the trek down to Golfland in Sunnyvale (at El Camino and Wolfe Road) they also have a skee ball hole.

Putt Putt belongs in the suburbs- along with the clientele that will support this place.

Great, another place for assholes to gather.

To clarify one point in this article, the architect for the building is the same firm that did Mission Bowling Club (MH Architects), but the mini-golf course is being designed by a separate team, led by chief designer Chris Myers. And in response to several of the comments: Yes, this is a commercial venture, but it is not being created by some big developer or corporate entity. It is the brainchild of a San Francisco local (me, Steve Fox) who spent the last 35 years as an editor and decided that I really wanted to see a mini-golf course in my city. I’ve personally invested just about everything I’ve got, and then I reached out to other private individuals–as well as the Kickstarter community–for the money necessary to bring this dream to life. Starting a business in San Francisco is absurdly expensive; I knew that going in. For instance, the city charged me $126,000 in something called a “Transit Development Impact Fee” to offset extra traffic Urban Putt would bring to the public transit system. That’s not the kind of money regular individuals can easily come up with. But this is where I live and where I wanted my business to be. We’ve got lots of bars, restaurants, and coffee places in this town. But no mini-golf where kids, families and adults can get together to have fun. I’m hoping to remedy that.–Steve Fox, Chief Greenskeeper, Urban Putt

What happened to this money? The entire budget for the project is about $1.6 million, and Fox says that he has already raised about $1.2 million. The team hopes to open Urban Putt by the end of the year, or possible the beginning of 2014.


Why don’t you do this the way every other would-be-Mission-success-story does? Restaurants, bars, coffee places, they all save their pennies (as you have), and when that’s not enough, they get investors. Securities laws in California, and federally, are not tough to get around for investments of this size. You don’t have to jump through a lot of regulatory hoops to get 10 or 20 people in on the action. That’s how you raise money for a for-profit enterprise - convince a few people with some money that your idea is worth backing. I’m sure you’ve done some of this. Why not do a little more?

Ultimately, I guess it’s just unseemly to me to ask for people to fund your dream, when you could just sell a little bit of it.

Jesus Christ.. this post, especially when written after Steve’s clarification, embodies everything that is sad about San Francisco blog commenters.

He’s asking for, what? The remaining 50K from a million+ dollar project, right? How ridiculous…? As a patron, I’d much rather support a project that was partially funded by the community (even if just a small percentage) than one funded 100% by dudes who invest solely to have their silk-gloved hands in everything supposedly “hip” in “the Mission”.

As a sidenote, the presumably ridiculous clientele (as kevin mentioned), will probably keep me from checking this place out for quite awhile. My comment is made strictly as a response to the silly soap boxes that everyone seems to have on the internet. It’s 50K, a small percentage, not as if the guy is funding the entire project through Kickstarter.

please help my investors make money from selling alcohol!

If you want me to fund your for-profit business, don’t ask me for donations - sell me shares.


…would only be available to “accredited investors”, which probably doesn’t include you.

But thanks for having an entitled opinion instead of an informed one!

Yea! What that guy said: snotty water and soap! Harrumph!