Kind lighting, cute seating, and the most welcoming forest green walls you could ever think of. That’s pretty much all you can see from the door at Stroke, the new indoor mini-golf course slash full bar in Plaza Midwood.
Before the comfort of heating and velvet chairs lies a long line of people waiting to be put on an even longer wait list.
This is an interesting change of pace for Plaza Midwood as it’s generally one of the more laid back neighborhoods in Charlotte. Former home to the crust punks, Plaza Midwood is known for grungy bars and restaurants like Common Market, Dish, and Petras, yet it seems the yuppies have been creeping in one block at a time.
Stroke describes itself as an "urban golf club," which is the whitest phrase ever created. It's putt putt but with a Southend accent.
Despite the unwelcome Southendfification of Plaza Midwood, Stroke initially enjoyed positive anticipation by the locals. This is a rarity in a the typically jaded and cynical Plaza Midwood community.
Unfortunately, the allure doesn't match up to the execution.
If you actually want to golf at Stroke, come prepared to wait. I was put on a whopping two and a half hour wait list.
They sent me a link so I could watch my name move sluggishly up a line that seemed almost a mile long. At the very least, I was able to head across the street to The Bohemian with my Bumble date for a glass of wine while we waited.
After a glass of wine, we wandered back over to Stroke to check out its oft-photographed bar area. Stroke gets points for having a gorgeous lounge. Green coated walls, a 1960s living room feel, and a round, fully stocked bar. It’s like if Florence Welch designed the hotel from American Horror Story season 5.
Unfortunately, all the class gets thrown out the window by the kiosk order system. That's strange enough on its own for a bar, but the machine makes a totally unreasonable request for a tip. Now I’m all about tipping, but am I really expected to tip both the bartender and this little robot taking my order? If you're going to make me order from a kiosk like I'm in a fucking Taco Bell, then at least don't ask me for a tip.
Finally, after every second of the the 2.5 hours had passed, we were at the top of the list.
We received our clubs and golf balls at the crowded front desk and started on the still-occupied first hole. Now, either the parties in front of us were ginormous, slow, or Stroke called us to golf too quickly. We were on top of two other parties our entire time on the course.
This place really put the “mini” in mini golf. The course itself felt like a Pinterest DIY mini golf course and a lot of the displays on the courses had fallen apart.
Here's a snippet for you: after $10 to golf, a $12 drink, and waiting for 2.5 hours, we completed the course in only 20 minutes.
At one point we ran into a family which begs the questions: who brings her kids to an adult mini golf course that serves alcohol in the middle of Plaza Midwood at 8:30 on a Saturday night? What kind of bar lets kids in after 8 PM? Do we have to ruin everything with it being family friendly? I get it, parents want to have fun too! But at what cost? Some of us don’t have kids, and therefore don’t really want to be reminded of them on our night out, especially when they’re running around and blocking the 9th hole.
The atmosphere at Stroke is almost like someone wanted to open a bar and then made the other half of it indoor mini golf as a last minute gimmick.
If you insist on waiting in an overwhelming line for this underwhelming experience, make sure you have dinner plans beforehand, and don’t be that asshole that brings a 16 person party to this place. Seriously, it’s tiny. No one wants to wait for you and your former frat bro’s to finish your Tee Time.
Stroke was a cute idea, but had a disappointing execution.