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Thr3 Jack brings boozy virtual golf to North Loop

At Thr3 Jack, you can finally heckle your friends for their bad golf swings and awful clothing all year long!

At Thr3 Jack, you can finally heckle your friends for their bad golf swings and awful clothing all year long!

This weather sucks.

In theory, you could golf in it. But let's face it, you're not British, wouldn't enjoy it, and would blame conditions for your poor performance.

Just in time, Thr3 Jack has arrived in Minneapolis' North Loop as an oasis for the disillusioned club-swinger. Old school enthusiasts for drinking activities that could maim someone favor darts, billiards, and bowling. The hipsters are throwing axes. At Thr3 Jack, it's the preppies' turn.

Tucked a little ways off its listed 729 N. Washington Ave. address, the spacious premises contains six golf rooms where you'll tee off, play your drop off crunchy AstroTurf, or putt, depending on your choice of game.

The screen before you might display a driving range, a putting green, or one of 70-plus real-life courses, including iconic venues like Pebble Beach or St. Andrews.

Your swing could also project the ball into an arcade version of darts, skee-ball, beer pong, or other "parlor-style games," but on first view, these looked counterintuitive if not downright annoying. At $50-70 an hour for room rental, your money's probably best spent on something approximating actual golf.

That price disparity depends on whether the screen you're playing is flat or curved. A question about the difference led to the revelation that the curved screens "are curved" (actual quote).

Rooms could comfortably accomodate at least a half-dozen people, and a few offer gallery seating where friends who don't play but enjoy seeing you fail could linger, drink, and yell "Noonan!" as you line up your shot.

Each room is stocked with a set of Titleist clubs, and on some nights, a "PGA pro" will be available to inform you your shitty swing cannot be blamed on the martini you're sipping.

To be clear, Thr3 Jack (golf slang for needing three putts to get the ball in the hole) is not a golf arcade with a bar attached as an afterthought. It's a bar-restaurant with a golf theme. You're welcome here even if you've never picked up a club, have no intention to, and don't really feel one way or another about the fact Thr3 Jack's dining room ceiling is decorated with 5,000 golf balls.

Caitlin Abrams

Caitlin Abrams

With their respective backgrounds in commercial real estate, law, and "brand identity," brother-sister owners Bo Massopust and Lucy Robb wisely enlisted local service industry vets to craft their menus.

Jesse Held, the cocktail wiz behind drinks at Parlour, Constantine, and Eat Street Social, invented a list where everything feels like a twist on something you've tasted before. The "75 & Sunnny" was a tart, cirtus-y take on a French 75; amaro bitters darkened the "Tai'd Up" into something more complex than the crazy straw it came with implied. All cocktails ran $12, with a short beer list and far more extensive wine options, approximating your options at a country club.

The dining menu crafted by head chef Rober Wohlfeil, who's previously run the kitchens at Mercury Dining Room and the Lowry, mixes standards -- wings, strip steak, brick chicken, an "avocado bruschetta" that's not fooling anyone about its identity -- with a few surprises.

The blue corn-crusted shrimp appetizer was an instant favorite, both flavors melding together into something that should probably be happening on more menus. A "French wedge" salad looks wrong in print but tastes right on the tongue, smoky and bright all at once.

Caitlin Abrams

Caitlin Abrams

Among main dishes, the two-patty, two-cheese burger and the whole grilled branzini were both expertly done and quickly devoured, while the stick-like fries and soggy couscous that accompanied them, respectively, were treated as afterthoughts by both kitchen and diner.

Officially opening Monday, Thr3 Jack was still working out some kinks in its swing during a soft open this week, though the bar was fully functioning, and the golf screens (curved or not) served as a sunnny distraction from the gloominess outside.

One warning: The dining room's curved ceiling leaves some dead zones acoustically, so when the bar's full, you might have trouble hearing your company. Consider bringing someone you'd rather watch swing a club than talk to.