It started with a brief. Design a mini-golf bar, in a church. The result? Eighteen holes of retro-kitsch putt putt. This is Holey Moley Golf Club, the Valley’s newest drinking hole and amusement park for adults.
You’ll recognise the premises – the big old church on Warner Street, originally built in 1885 and for more than 100 years a place of worship for Fortitude Valley Presbyterians. In more recent times it’s been a revolving door of nightclubs, ending with The Mansion earlier this year. The two-storey building has since been gutted and fitted with a couple of nine-hole courses, ping-pong tables, arcade games and a bar.
In charge of design and fit-out was a pair of Melbourne companies, creative agency Studio Yeah and prop and set specialists Onset Arts. “What can we do that’s not expected?” was the burning question of the early meetings, according to Studio Yeah creative director Keith Walsh. “We didn’t want to do mini-golf with windmills,” he says. “We wanted to do mini-golf on acid.”
Walsh and his team sat down and designed 36 holes, before narrowing it to the final 18 themes (Alice in Wonderland, Game of Thrones, Donkey Kong, and so on). From there, the physical confines of the space wasn’t the biggest challenge – it was finding the cool junk. Walsh says eBay was the first port of call, but soon enough every weekend was spent foraging in op shops and markets, in Geelong and out in the countryside.
“I found a box of puppets in one place and a box of golf books in another. I started off with zero purchases on eBay and I'm on something like 500 now.”
Holey Moley’s stand out piece is the Game of Thrones-themed Iron Throne, made entirely of golf clubs and wrangled into being by Brisbane artist Cezary Stulgis. And yes, it’s a playable hole.
At the bar, the drinks list takes puns to unsafe levels with Tee Quila Mocking Birdie, Long Island Iced Tee and So Par So Good, all served in Redds-style plastic party cups. You can source a fried-chicken feed from Lucky Egg next door or get pizza delivered by Boroughs of New York to enjoy in the beer garden out front.
Conceived by Fun Lab, the company behind both Strike Bowling and Sky Zone, it’s a place to bring friends (or children before 5pm), sink beers, sink balls and have a laugh. Golfing attire optional.