Swingers, the newest addition to Dupont Circle’s social scene, provides a glimpse into what post-work drinks can be after the pandemic.
The London-born venue, first introduced in 2014, opens its first U.S. location today and offers crazy golf, gourmet street food and cocktails. The venue opens in what was formerly Buffalo Billiards, a 25 year Dupont mainstay that closed in 2019 and also offered adult games.
The interior of Swingers — as well as its name — is inspired by the 1920’s English golf clubhouses, a time in British history the website describes as “verdant” and “undulating.” The first floor is reminiscent of a country club bar and features books nestled under a dark wood bar adorn with purple leather chairs.
Downstairs there are multiple bars, the cafeteria, an outdoor patio and two mini-golf courses. One of the bars is called The Players Lounge and features a wraparound couch and windows looking out onto one of the mini-golf courses. The private event lounge is called The Snug.
There are whimsical details throughout Swingers to remind you not to take things too seriously. Servers wear mismatched plaid pants and a golf print-top, while walls feature photo-edited celebrity heads on golfers’ bodies. There is also a nod to social media needs; visitors can take photos on a Swingers branded golf cart before the game or on a winning pedestal-stand afterward.
To eat, gourmet street food is created in four separate kitchens and features food from D.C. restaurants Succotash, Kneadza Pizza, tuTaco and Mah-Ze-Dahr. The cafeteria also has picnic tables under ruffly striped umbrellas conveniently located near the DJ booth. One of our favorite features is the customer-friendly food service: orders are taken at the bar, and patrons are given a number that appears on screens throughout the space, indicating when an order is ready for pick up at the food window.
On the drink menu, there was notably a wide variety of options, including clubhouse classics, frozen cocktails, tiki drinks, the trendy espresso martini and more. The beer, wine and liquor menu also offers a wide variety of options including hard seltzers and a long list of whiskeys.
To play crazy golf, you schedule a tee time, get a playing card with a mini-pencil, and then at the scheduled time, proceed to one of two mini-golf courses. The two courses are called Waterwheel and Clocktower. Each golf course is nine holes, has a set of player rules, tree stumps to place your drinks, and friendly “caddy’s” who take your order as you go through the course.
On the ninth hole — the signature Swingers’ hole — you step up to spin a prize wheel if you get a hole-in-one. When I spun, my prize was a burger, but sadly I did not get a hole-in-one. I asked the server if anyone had, and he said he’d won six times but had been practicing for a month.
While on the Waterwheel course, people were swaying to the DJ’s songs, drinking and laughing. They were enjoying the new meaning of a Swingers’ experience: drinking good cocktails while playing a round of crazy golf in D.C.’s new English-inspired golf clubhouse.
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