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A Lakeview Mini-Golf Bar Will Offer Boozy Slushies and Nine Holes of Fun

The team behind Wicker Park’s Big Mini Putt Club promises challenging courses and arcade games

A golf cart sits inside a bar space with a round green sign behind it that reads “Big Mini Putt Club.”
The Big Mini Putt Club in Wicker Park is expanding into Lakeview.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Big Mini Putt Club, Wicker Park’s mini-golf bar that overcame a pandemic opening and became a neighborhood hit, will soon bring unveil a second outpost in Lakeview. Co-owners Nicholas Jenkins and Austin DeLonge are deep into the build-out process at Big Mini Lakeview and are aiming for a spring debut at 3655 N. Halsted Street.

Housed inside a bow truss building with a soaring 25-foot ceiling, Big Mini Lakeview will, like its predecessor, offer nine holes that Jenkins and DeLonge design and build themselves. There’s a DIY spirit at Big Mini that separates it from the out-of-town mini-golf chains that have descended upon Chicago.

The space is just under 8,000 square feet — nearly 3,000 square feet larger than the first location — and the owners have spent their days measuring, hammering, drilling, and painting to channel the same independent ethos that characterizes the original on Milwaukee Avenue.

Announced in 2019, the original Big Mini Putt Club took more than two years to open in Wicker Park. Jenkins and DeLonge had hoped to launch in early 2020, but the pandemic threw their plans into disarray. Gaming and arcade bars faced particular challenges amidst indoor dining bans and capacity restrictions, as they often rely on customers who hang out for hours to play and socialize. By comparison, Jenkins says the debut of Big Mini Lakeview is far less tumultuous.

The venues are undoubtedly sister spots, but fans can rest assured that the expansion is not a copy-paste operation. Among their many titles, Jenkins and DeLonge are also game testers who feel strongly about creating an engaging course that draws patrons back over and over. “We don’t believe in the concept of repeating holes,” says Jenkins. “The holes [in Lakeview] will be bigger and more challenging — they’ll be totally redesigned so people who play at the first location can come back and have a new experience.”

Big Mini’s selection of draft beers will also be larger in Lakeview with 15 to 20 taps (in contrast to 10 in Wicker Park) and the team plans to tailor the cocktail menu to neighborhood tastes. The drink list is still in development, but Jenkins says he plans to include a slushy machine, likely with a double barrel, that will produce a rotating roster of boozy frozen beverages that underscore the bar’s affinity for bringing the outdoors inside. Though the bar won’t serve food, the co-owners are considering partnerships with nearby restaurants so patrons can bring in their own items to pair with drinks and gameplay.

In another departure, Big Mini Lakeview will supplement putt-putt with classic video games and new tabletop golf games the co-owners invented themselves. “We’re leaning into that nostalgia element,” Jenkins says. “Our brand is all about allowing yourself to feel like a kid again and rekindling that magic of childhoods.”

Big Mini Lakeview, 3655 N. Halsted Street, scheduled to open in the spring.

Big Mini Putt Club

1302 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 363-2369 Visit Website