There are a couple of things that I don’t have enough of in my life. One of those things is tamarind. Another of those things is mini golf. On a serendipitous visit to San Francisco this past week I found both of those treasures in the same location; Urban Putt.


A little more context is due. The software startup I work for hosted an ambitious conference in the mission district this past week. One of my jobs during the few days leading up to the conference was wrangling all the remote employees that flew in. I rented an 8 seater minivan, bought groceries, and handled the logistics of sleeping and travel arrangements. We had a few hours free one night so I made the call to play some mini golf. The way I saw it, Urban Putt had booze, good food, and an awesome mini golf course. That’s enough to please everyone.


Urban Putt fits the personality of the Mission district of San Francisco perfectly. I’m not talking about the Mexican history of the district, I’m talking about the modern hip resurgence of the district. The mini golf course has a steam punk, tech, and carnival feel. The Dia de los Muertos hole successfully ties it back to the roots of the Mission.


I was impressed by the quality of the food served at the restaurant above the course. My group ate squash empanadas, pepperoni deep dish pizza, fried chicken and waffle skewers, short rib poutine, and other cool dishes. I ordered a house made tamarind soda that was exactly what I needed.


When people refer to tamarind they’re usually referring to the pulp from the pod-like fruit of the Tamarind tree. These were very common in Honduras, and you can find the in southern parts of the United States as well. The pulp is typically bitter and earthy and when used as a beverage creates something similar to a tea. The tamarind soda at Urban Putt had that same bitter base but was sweetened enough to take the edge off. They also added enough fresh lemon juice to provide some tart acidity which made the soda a bit more interesting than it would have been without it. I’d say that the combination tasted a lot like an Arnold Palmer. It was refreshing, not too sweet, and tasted very fresh and light.

For me, this bar soda was an easy 8 out of 10 on my rating scale. I couldn’t tell you what would have made it better. It’s possible that there’s just a bit of a ceiling on how good a tamarind soda can be. However, the mini golf course was outstanding. It can get very crowded, but there’s an incredible amount of creativity poured into the course design and it’s definitely worth your time.

Visited on September 27, 2018 at 9pm