Five Iron Golf, a New York-based bar brand equipped with indoor golf simulators, opened its first D.C. location earlier this month, bringing Penn Quarter an air-conditioned space where customers can tweak their swings.
The sprawling, 12,000-square-foot setup at 575 Seventh Street NW includes 10 simulator screens, a putting green, and two bars. Since 2017, the brand has expanded to nine locations across six cities from the East Coast to Las Vegas.
D.C. chef Bedros Alboyadjian, who once took some time away from cooking to work as an assistant caddie manager at Pebble Beach in California, sends out starters like mac and “cheesesteak” eggrolls, tuna poke, fritto misto, chicken lemongrass potstickers, and grilled broccolini. “Miami Beach” arepas with pulled pork and tequila mango salsa speak to his South Florida upbringing.
Cocktails include a John Daly — a spiked Arnold Palmer — along with a Buffalo Trace Old Fashioned, fruity margaritas, and a cocktail of the week. The current special is a draft “5i Transfusion” (Absolut vodka, ginger ale, grape concentrate) that was an early top seller at other locations. There are also beers, seltzers, ciders, and wine.
Food and drinks are available starting at noon on weekdays and earlier on weekends. The 160-person space offers additional bar seating and high tops. Simulators fit four to six people each. Anyone can sit at the bar, not just paying golfers.
Five Iron Golf, which operates similar facilities in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, and Vegas, uses HD video-enabled TrackMan technology to capture ball speed, attack angle, club path, and face angle. Golfers can pick to play on famous PGA courses around the world or in fictional environments like a waterfall-filled Devil’s Island and Jurassic World.
The tech determines where the ball would land and projects results on a jumbo projector. A gamer mode option features capture the flag or hit-a-bullseye courses. Golf simulator rentals range from $50 to $65 per hour. There are also lessons, tournaments, league options, and club-fitting.
“We cater to the serious golfer that wants to come in to practice and use our technology to get better, but all also have all this cool art, food, drinks, and game modes in our system that cater to the less serious or non-golfer,” D.C. general manager Michael Sensenig says.
The industrial-styled space gets livened up via retro rainbow and pop art murals across its columns and walls, along with neon signage of golf puns like “find your balls” and “talk birdie to me.”
Bathrooms are doused in wallpaper of bananas, flamingos, and jellyfish. Some are outfitted with showers to serve the sweaty golfer heading back to work. The venue opens daily at 6 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. It closes at 10 p.m. on Sunday through Wednesday and 11 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday.
In June, D.C. got a combination food hall and mini-golf course with the arrival of London-based Swingers in Dupont Circle.