Swingers, a London-based brand of mini-golf bars, is close to opening its first U.S. branch in Dupont Circle, inviting District residents back into a familiar bar space that’s been completely rebuilt to combine a putt-putt course with a food hall. The 20,000-square-foot complex opens Friday, June 18, with four different restaurant brands from Knead Hospitality + Design selling everything from tavern-style pizzas to chorizo tacos, stacked burgers, and decadent cheesecake.
There’s a pared-down take on Ed Lee’s Succotash (Lil’ Succotash); Mexican street food from Mi Vida chef Roberto Santibañez (Tu Taco); pastries and soft serve from NYC-based partner bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr; and Knead’s first shot at pizza (Kneadza).
Not that long ago, the massive space used to house high-volume bars Buffalo Billiards and the Front Page. Now, paying golfers and walk-ins can both order from bars and stalls planted around the perimeter of two 9-hole golf courses. High-tech display screens positioned around the building let customers know when their food is ready. Drinking on the course is encouraged, but the space is built for people to take their pick of 500 seats before sitting down to eat. The food stalls are set to open from noon to 11 p.m. every day, with takeout available for neighbors and workers returning to office buildings.
Here’s a brief description of each of the vendors, all wrapped up into a neat one-page menu:
Succotash chef Edward Lee adapts his Southern restaurant to the mini-golf course with lots of finger foods — mini corn dogs, jalapeno poppers, smoked chicken wings slathered in white barbecue sauce — and a focus on sandwiches like a pimento cheese burger. Succotash’s Penn Quarter flagship remains closed for now.
This pizza shop sells seven types of tavern-style pies to go along with Italian starters like fried ravioli, garlic knots, and a chopped caprese salad. In addition to red sauce pizzas, customers will find flavors like “the Fun Guy,” which gets topped with smoked babby bella mushrooms, black truffle cream, mozzarella, and caramelized onions.
The fast-casual Mexican menu from Knead culinary director and Mi Vida chef Roberto Santibañez starts off with nachos and a “guacamole total” loaded up with sour cream, bacon lardons, and scallion. There’s a burrito stuffed with Sinaloan-style pork chilorio, followed by crispy brisket flautas and tacos (corn or flour) topped with crispy cod, chorizo, and pork pastor. Chocolate churros offer something sweet, too.
Knead brings in its bakery partner, NYC-based Mah-Ze-Dahr, at a stall with photogenic desserts like soft serve served in a waffle bowl, a gluten-free brownie sundae, apple crumble pie, and the brand’s popular Heavenly Cheesecake with vanilla and lemon zest.