Swingers: The City Review

Swingers: The Crazy Golf Club has two London locations. John Princes Street in the Westend and Brown’s Building The City. This review is from an evening spent in The City Swingers.

Swingers is an 18+ venue brought to you by the Institute of Competitive Socialising, a group of like-minded individuals who believe that life is better enjoyed with friends. It combines crazy, golf, street food and cocktail bars to create “…one incredible social experience”.

The city venue boasts:

  • Two bespoke nine-hole crazy golf courses
  • Five cocktail drenched bars
  • Three of London’s best street-food vendors
  • A two-story clubhouse with gin terrace.
  • Nightly DJ’s.

At the beginning of this year, I suggested Swingers as a fun venue for a friends night out after a break-up. So recently I decided to put my money where my mouth is and see if the venue came up to par…

First off, I was surprised that Swingers is right beside the Gherkin. This may not impress everyone; however, I am not in the city that often so I am always impressed all over again with central London.

I met six other friends outside Swingers on some random Friday evening, and we walked into a vivacious atmosphere. The music was loud enough that we had to raise our voices and hearing the person at the other end of the table was a struggle. There were not many spare tables left in the street food hall however enough that we could all sit together on our own table; this was at 7 pm, and the place got progressively busier.

We arrived 40 minutes before our pre-booked golf time, which turned out to be plenty of time (for most of us) to have some food and one or two cocktails. I had a Margherita pizza from Pizza Pilgrim’s and was completely happy with this. It’s just a simple pizza, but it was cheap (£6.75) and super tasty. Swingers have three street food menus to choose from (Pizza Pilgrim’s, Patty & Bun and DF/Mexico).

We all chose different things from Pilgrim’s or Patty. Ordering was simple as all orders are taken at the bar. Then we waited for our order number to come up on the screens and collected our food from the specific food vendor. The burger from Patty took a bit longer, however, so while the pizza eaters had plenty of time to leisurely munch on our dinner. The burger eaters had to shovel theirs in at the end and leave some of their sides, so we didn’t miss out on our golf slot.

I recommend pre-booking your golf slot (£13 per person peak times, £10 off peak) and working your eating and drinking around this. You can pre-book a table in the upper floor’s Gin Terrace, Clubhouse or President’s Committee Room but not in the street food hall. However, we had no problem getting a table in the food hall before and a table in the Gin Terrace after golf.

The two golf courses are quite compact. And one definitely needs to be on time for your slot because there is little time/space in between groups. In fact, we frequently had the group behind us finish their hole and have to wait for us to move onto the next one (which was a little offputting for the friend who was last to putt. At least that’s what she said when she lost ;).

I was a bit underwhelmed by the installations on the golf course. I thought they would be bigger and bolder. However, this disappointment was offset by the staff who were super friendly and funny. We were also happy that drinks were brought to us while on the course.

So aside from my first impression of the course, the golf was a fun experience. As a group of friends, you can’t help but get some vocal competitiveness happening which ads to the fun. So it was short (less than an hour to finish), fun and we got to keep drinking throughout. After golf, we went upstairs to The Gin Terrace and drunk the night away with a few more friends joining us.

In the end, the golf was not the central part of the night, but rather a fun little interlude to sitting at a table all night. Which worked for us.

The drinks menu is varied and exciting. We went through many different delicious gins, such as the cocktail A Swinger Called Harry £10 (Chase Marmalade vodka, ginger ale, apricot bitters, spiced sugar) and the mixer; gin mixed with pomegranate & basil soda, priced between £7.50 to £9.50 depending on which gin you choose. The rest of the drink menu also has a lot of fun mixers and cocktails to choose from with an excellent selection of varying quality Vodka, Gin, Whisky Bourbon and Rye, Tequila, Rum and Cognac.

Overall, I enjoyed my night at Swingers. However, I can not see myself back there often. While the golf was fun, I am not interested in playing it often, particularly in the evening. I would also not consider it a good date venue. In my opinion, it is for groups of friends or colleagues looking for a short, simple night of entertainment.

Stalker

My worst date turned into a nightmare, and he didn’t even turn up. We met on an online dating app about ten years ago in the States. We eventually agreed to meet-up, but he never showed.

Afterwards, I started to receive strange messages from him that persisted for a couple of months. He would threaten me and tell me where I had been that day. Real stalker kind of stuff. It was scary and upsetting. I don’t know how often he was following me, but he certainly made me feel like he was always watching. And some of the messages were pretty accurate.

When it felt like he just wasn’t going to stop I tracked his details through a website using his number (which is all I had). I’m not sure you can still get that information as easily these days, but at that point, it was relatively cheap and easy.

I managed to get contact details for his Grandmother and phoned her. I explained what had been happening and her reaction was something like, “oh no not again”. She was lovely and assured me she’d put a stop to it.

Next message from the guy was “I can’t believe you called my grandma?!”. Never heard from him again.

Thank you grandma!
JJ

Too Many Drinks Later

So this is by far my worst date story. I started chatting with a guy online…it was so long ago I can’t remember what I had thought about our chat leading up to our date. Or I’ve had so many first date/disappointments that I’ve stopped trying to remember! 

I met up with this guy for a drink. The problem started when he kept buying the next drink before I had even finished the last, and set quite a fast drinking pace to the evening. Now, I can drink: I don’t want to stereotype myself but I am Irish…and I have worked in events for years. I can definitely hold my own. But after 4 or 5 pints of cider on an empty stomach after work, in rapid succession. I was fucked. I had to insist to this guy that we needed to call it a night. Again I can’t even remember how the date was going otherwise! I vaguely remember it was just ok. You know, fine to chat but we wouldn’t see each other again type. So we’re outside the bar trying to get a taxi, for which he said he would share and pay for my ride. All of a sudden I projectile vomited over a hedge and onto the side of the building. I seriously suspect I looked like the Exorcist… And then the guy stuck his tongue down my throat trying to kiss me!!! I mean what the fuck!!! There was no mistaking the fact that I was violently ill…makes me feel sick just to think of him trying to kiss my vomit mouth!

When we finally get into the taxi, he tries to come back to mine to “sleep on the couch”. I had to get firm that he was not coming back…and yet still paying for me 😉 the next day he messaged like the date had gone fantastically….delete.   

The Cult Member

I met a guy online while I was living abroad for a few years. I can only speak English, and as I was living in a non-English speaking country, my dating prospects were slimmer. Most people could speak English well. However, I found that not having the same first language could be quite a barrier, particularly for online dating. So I was pretty excited when I met this guy who seemed great and had lived for a time in my home country. It meant that not only could we communicate better but also that he understood a bit about my culture and my sense of humour. He was also super hot! I so wanted him to be a good egg. I prayed to any kind of positive force out there to please let him be normal for once in my online dating history!

If I hadn’t been so keen on it working out with him, I would have reacted sooner to some warning signs. First was the fact he didn’t really drink. Nothing against non-drinkers but I enjoy my social drinking, and it can be a bit off-putting when I start to feel self-conscious about the fact I’m on drink number three and feeling a little tipsy.

When we got to the stage that I was meeting his friends. I realised that his ‘friends’ were all his rather large sibling group. I found this out when he took me to a ‘party’, which was in fact, a non-drinking book club involving his many brothers and sisters; this was a vast leap from how I would typically spend my nights out. I then find out that he was recently separated from his wife and has three children. Apparently, he and his wife were deeply religious, and they separated when she became more devout than he. I think I was the product of him having some kind of life/ spiritual crisis.

I was still trying to convince myself that it/he could work and was telling some friends all about it one evening over a few wines. When, as all kind friends do, they laughed and said he sounded like he was in a cult.

He and I did not make it far past this conversation. I wised up to reality…and he decided his crisis was over and returned to his wife.

 

Don’t Wait Too Long for the Toilet

I wouldn’t usually write someone else’s worst date story (at least without permission) however it was about 15 years ago, so I have decided that it’s ok 🙂

I was in a bar with friends, and there were a man and woman next to us that were obviously on a date. It must have been going well because we had all been sitting in the same place for a couple of hours when I went to the toilet. As I came out of the toilet someone else walked into my cubicle and the lady who was on the date was left waiting. It was just us two by the sinks. We caught eyes at one point and she smiled an uncomfortable smile and was starting to shift weight from side to side while keeping her legs close together. I looked away, and after another few seconds I heard a sound and looked at her again; down the side of her jeans were several little holes (on purpose, it was the design of the jeans) and out of them her urine was streaming out.

It was a bit dark in the bar so when she joined her date again you couldn’t see her jeans were wet. I remember wondering at the time how she was going to play it because they continued the date for a wee while longer. However after a while they left, both looking sheepish. I wonder if she came back thinking she’d just continue for awhile and hope he didn’t notice. Then the cold, clammy reality of the situation began wafting up, and she had to confess.

I remember discussing it with a group of friends on a different evening concerning what others would have done. I thought that I would have got demanding or at least vocal, about someone getting out of the toilet quick smart before I pissed myself. I even considered whether I would have pulled my pants down and gone on the floor or sink …anything to avoid pissing my pants! However, I soon learnt from this discussion that’s it’s more common than I thought! Some friends also admitted leaving it too late on occasion to get to the loo in time…