Mini golf opens soon in downtown Durham, complete with beer, wine and frozen cocktails

Bull City Mini

Durham’s mini golf course and bar has booked its tee time.

Bull City Mini’s owners announced they will open May 11, aka National Mini Golf Day, in the American Tobacco Campus, next door to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Bull City Mini will open in the former Bullpen bar space at 359 Blackwell St., a shift from original plans announced last fall. Married owners Julie Bryce and Ben Owens previously said there would be an outdoor course on the lawn by the Aloft Hotel and Durham Performing Arts Center.

Now the golf will be a weather-proof, seven-hole course, with four indoor and three outdoor holes.

A round will cost $7 per person, plus drinks. The bar will serve beer, wine and frozen cocktails.

Bryce said Bull City Mini will be on Blackwell Street for six months, treating the space as a pop-up trial run for a possible larger course down the line.

“Our ultimate goal is to be open for 10 months a year...with a larger course of 18 to 27 holes,” Bryce said. “We’ll test the idea and get feedback and then hope to be open in a more permanent setting.”

Holes were designed by community members, from artisans to middle schoolers and even Duke medical students, after a contest last year. Bryce said 50 entries came in, each bringing some aspect of Durham to life. They ultimately whittled down the entries to seven holes, with a handful of others set aside for possible expansion.

One hole will immortalize the infamous “Canopener Bridge” in Durham, Bryce said, known to shear off the tops of too-tall trucks.

“There wasn’t a bad design in the bunch,” Bryce said. “Everything was so local and so inventive and really showed a love of Durham.”

For the bar, Bryce promises high and low options, with local beers from Brewery Bhavana, Fullsteam and Ponysaurus, but assures that Miller High Life and PBR will be around as well. For wine, Bryce said they’ll offer inexpensive options that “can pass the wine snob test,” adding that wine is her preferred drink.

From there it really gets funky. Bull City Mini will have a “frose” machine, pouring frozen rose and a sparkling wine cocktail topped with locally made cotton candy from Raleigh company Wonderpuff.

The mini golf bar follows a trend in Durham night life: combining games of chance and skill with a few beverages. Recently, ax-throwing bar Urban Axes and bar arcade Boxcar opened in Durham’s Geer Street district.

Winners of the hole design contest were paid $500 and given passes for the course for friends and family.

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.