REVIEW: THR3 Jack Golf Restaurant

Winter in Minnesota is a golfer’s kryptonite.  That feeling starts to enter the subconscious right after Labor Day.  It is only a matter of time before the frost sets in and eventually turns to a polar vortex.  For six months, Minnesota residents have two options: fly south, or find some indoor options to keep the rust off the game.  Growing up, there were a handful of indoor golf domes where you could hit off a mat and see your ball flight for about 75 yards or so.  While they’re still around, it’s basically like hitting into a longer net. It’s enough to keep the swing loose, but a fairly sterile environment.

Today, the game of golf has seen a movement to grow golf participation.  This is especially true for children and women players.  Golf is a difficult game to learn, and stay consistent.  Its expensive, takes a lot of time, and not practical for today’s busy families.  The time has passed when dad can kiss the kids on the head and leave for 8 hours on a Saturday to practice, play 18, then have some whiskey playing cribbage in the locker room.

In that light, golf has seen a bit of an evolution of late.  Some brilliant folks have decided to bring the driving range and simulator business into the bar scene.  Some places are doing this the right way, and others are not.  It’s sort of like bowling, bring a group of friends, seat them in a semi circle with drinks and food while playing some golf.  You don’t need to be good, you just need to know how to have fun because in many ways, golf is secondary to the experience as well as the atmosphere with your friends.  Around the Twin Cities, the bar/simulator golf competition is heating up and growing.  In my town alone in the east-metro, three to four establishments have opened. 

This past October, Thr3 Jack opened its doors in the North Loop area of downtown Minneapolis.  When co-owners, Lucy Robb and Bo Massopust, put this place together it was with evident thought and detail.  They hired former head chef at the Oceanaire to design a menu.  The selections are consistent with those familiar offerings you would find in a bar but they’re sprinkled with a boutique foodie feel.

Thr3 Jack uses aboutGOLF simulators which are one of the best in the industry.  They’re also loaded with some of the best courses in the world as well as some famous bar games like bags, darts, and beer pong!  Although you certainly can, you don’t need to bring your clubs, Thr3 Jack’s has premium clubs for both men and women from Callaway Golf.  

Simulator rental will cost anywhere from $50/$70 an hour depending on the type of screen you choose between curved or regular.  When you break that down per person, it is far cheaper than regular golf and more consistent with the price of a driving range.  Each simulator area is assigned a wait staff member, along with a player assistant, to get you started on the simulator and help you along the way.  With the availability of the mentioned bar games, or not having to look for your balls in the woods, absolutely no golf experience is necessary to enjoy the actual golf part of Thr3 Jack.  In addition to the bar games, I chose to play Hazeltine National set up for the Ryder Cup in the fall season nonetheless.  Having been to Hazeltine, it was fun to play on the big screen.

As fun as the golf experience is at Thr3 Jack, the food will be the legacy that follows this place.  It is absolutely incredible.  The Thr3 Jack Burger has got to be the best burger in Minneapolis.  I was able to sample my playing partner’s nachos and avocado bruschetta as well, just delicious!  To wash down my Thr3 Jack, I had the Thr3 Jacked which is their version of an Old Fashioned, bourbon, rye, apple brandy, piloncillo, and bitters blend.  I am not sure if this is their signature cocktail, but it should be.
If you are looking for a unique experience this winter, you’ve got to put Thr3 Jack on the top of your list.  I have been their twice since it opened, and I have such a good time showing it off to friends and family.  The ability to socialize, dine, drink, with the availability to play no experience necessary golf is rarely done this well and thoughtful.  To have a look at their menu or make reservation visit their website: