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D.C.-area nightlife, events and dining

Washington area bars where you can be a kid again: Mini golf

At H Street Country Club, David Miller, right, from Arlington plays mini-golf on the whimsical course with his friend Rich Morris, visiting from Britain.
At H Street Country Club, David Miller, right, from Arlington plays mini-golf on the whimsical course with his friend Rich Morris, visiting from Britain. (Evy Mages For The Washington Post)

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Friday, April 23, 2010

As a kid, I remember tackling the varied mini-golf courses of the Eastern Shore on beach vacations, putt-putting my way around Vikings, under fluorescent aliens and banking the ball off more than one pirate ship, trying to nail holes-in-one to win a free game or (even better) a free postgame ice cream cone.

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Getting older doesn't mean abandoning mini-golf: Look at the throngs of childless people playing in Rehoboth, Ocean City and suburban parks.

But if you want to play with an adult beverage in hand, head to the H Street Country Club. This two-level, nine-hole indoor course has been packed since it opened in the bustling Atlas District last year, a testament to the popularity of the neighborhood as well as the universality of mini-golf as a date-night option.

The kooky obstacles on each hole are as much works of art as they are hazards to putt around: busts of zombie presidents crawling out of a cemetery, Marion Barry recast as the statue of "The Awakening," oversize Lego businessmen who swing their briefcases to block the hole.

My favorite part, though, are the servers who wander the par-22 course, taking orders for beers and margaritas and then delivering drinks to you on the course. Try finding that at your local public course.

Once you've played a round, which will take 30 minutes to an hour depending on crowds, the downstairs bar at the Country Club is one of the best 19th holes around, outfitted with skeeball machines, table shuffleboard, flat-screen TVs and a bar serving top-notch cocktails and delicious south-of-the-border snacks.

The weekly specials make nights even more fun. On Thursdays, for example, anyone wearing plaid pants or a plaid shirt plays golf for half-price, and you can order $5 Pimm's Cups and sweet-tea vodka and lemonade cocktails.

Daily. H Street Country Club, 1335 H St. NE. 202-399-4722. http://www.hstcountryclub.com.


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