New York is filled with places to act like a grown-up kid: For every pedantic cocktail joint serving historically inspired punches, there's a place to get hammered while whacking a Ping-Pong ball or shooting animated caribou. Yet for all of its regressive pleasures, Gotham has yet to mine the potential joys of drunken miniature golf—until now. The team behind Bowlmor Lanes has taken on the challenge, outfitting the 16,000-square-foot space above the alleys with the city's first indoor putt-putt course. The new urban country-club concept replaces the Coney Island–themed club, Carnival, though the place still maintains a fun-house vibe, thanks to an odd mishmash of themes: Vintage fiberglass animals taken from a '60s amusement park lurk among the mini-golf holes, an artificial-grass bocce court is lined with black-and-white photos of high-society high jinks, and an awning near the entrance offers an unexplained homage to CBGB. It's plenty weird, and potentially a blast if you're in the right frame of mind.
DRINK THIS: Drinking here is something you do between the greens, not an end in itself. Cocktails with names like the Dessert-ini (alcohol-infused chocolate milk, vanilla vodka) should give you pause; instead, play it safe with basic wine-by-the-glass and draft beer options, or grab cans of suds served in paper bags for ultimate mobility while you peruse the amusements. The grub, like the drinks, is more party fuel than anything else. You'll find the same high-concept junk food served downstairs at Bowlmor—zany, stoner-friendly David Burke creations like Tater-Tots with bacon-infused ketchup. Best to stick to fast-food standards (sloppy chili dogs, gooey cheese fries) and avoid mook bait like an $18.95 burger crowned with shrimp tempura.
GOOD FOR: Holiday parties or an offbeat date night. Those who treat minigolf as a legitimate sport will be disappointed by the course, which is short on nuance and, at $7.50 per round, pricey for only nine holes. But most revelers are happy enough to whack a ball around, swigging drinks and taunting their competition. The novelty value (and oodles of space) makes it a good bet for group outings. Package deals start at $39.95 per person (two hours of unlimited beer and a round of minigolf), and weekend crews can order bottle service (Veuve Clicquot $150, Absolut $275) in the semiprivate clubhouse, pimped out with tabletop arcade games.
THE CLINCHER: Not surprisingly, there's a sports-bar angle to the offerings, with a projector showing classic golf flicks like Caddyshack and plenty of flatscreens tuned to the games. As a result, GVCC is starting to gain steam as a Sunday Funday destination, where you can catch the NFL games in a rec-room--style area equipped with pool and foosball tables, as well as air hockey and shuffleboard. There's even a beer-pong table—with pitchers running $21 to $24, you'll want to bring your A-game and enforce a strict loser-buys-the-next-round rule.
OVERHEARD: "There are many strange things here."—A German tourist grapples with the concept of indoor mini golf