FIRST LOOK: The Dirdie Birdie Opens at The Domain
The immersive indoor mini golf venue features food and drinks by Chef Nicholas Yanes and interiors by Clayton Korte
By Avery Matschek
Photos by Holly Cowart
The Dirdie Birdie, an original and elegant indoor mini golf experience, will open to the public at The Domain this Friday, Nov. 18.
The multifaceted space features 12 Austin-inspired mini golf holes, as well as a full-service restaurant and bar program directed by Chef Nicholas Yanes and the Excelsior Management Team and interiors designed by Clayton Korte.
Owners Vik and Lina Khasat first came up with the inventive concept for The Dirdie Birdie at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were talking about everything we missed doing,” says Lina. “Early on [in dating], we would play mini golf quite often and it’s just fun.” The duo also missed their favorite restaurants and bars and thought it would be a worthwhile adventure to bring these activities together under one roof.
“We’re creating a combination of favorite experiences,” explains Vik. “Who doesn’t like good food? Who doesn’t like good drinks? Who doesn’t like cool games? Those are all things that people love to do inherently so all we’re doing is bringing these things together and having them firing on all cylinders.”
The couple assembled a top-notch team of local talents to bring their concept to fruition, and after nearly three years of work, the couple is thrilled to be opening their dream business.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment,” says Vik. “It’s been behind the scenes for a while because we’ve been building this in a vacuum, so to speak. Now, to get it out to the public is a fun thing.”
Every aspect of the The Dirdie Birdie experience has been designed to be the best of the best, but guests can expect to be particularly wowed by the indoor course, which was planned with the design and fabrication team Nine & Eye.
You start your game by getting a golf ball from a vintage gumball machine that has been reworked to become a color-sorting ball dispenser. Then, take a few steps through a mesmerizing LED tunnel, and you’ve embarked on your journey through the course, where each hole is more creative than the last.
Begin at the Capitol building, a hand-made replica of the downtown structure that provides a classic mini golf experience. Continue through the links to find a video game version of a golf hole, in which players hit the ball into a sensor that reads its direction and velocity. Looking for a photo-worthy moment? Head to holes four and five, inspired by the “Keep Austin Weird” spirit and the South Congress Bridge bats respectively.
Other noteworthy holes include an impressive reproduction of the Pennybacker Bridge, a pinball-inspired hole called Lady Luck and Birdie by Southwest, an ode to the iconic South by Southwest Festival, complete with handmade drums and pipes that have been turned into a twist and turn-filled golf hole.
As players navigate the links, caddies will be available to fulfill drink orders and keep the course clean, all while wearing caddie bibs designed by Vik himself.
Vik and Lina have lived in Austin for four years. When choosing the local landmarks to be featured in the course, they reflected on their own experiences and turned to Austinites who have called the city home for years to validate their choices.
“We had our own ideas, but we had a consultant early on that was born and raised in Austin to make sure we showcased things that people really appreciate,” says Vik. “And there were some late nights of talking with our friends from Austin over a few drinks.”
“From the beginning, I saw the vision,” says Yanes. “We want people to come here and be able to get really, really yummy food that is almost craveable, but doesn’t feel too heavy.”
The chef says the food isn’t a play on one particular cuisine, but is a take on classic bar food elevated to a higher standard. The Dirdie Birdie will serve a menu of small bites and entrees, including a Spaetzle Cacio e Pepe Gratin, Oven-Roasted Turkey Club and Yellowfin Tuna Crudo. Signature cocktails like the frozen Dirdie Marg, All Day Bloody and Yuzu Pimms Cup will be available for sipping.
“The food mirrors the whimsy of the course,” the chef explains. “And the drinks are super fun. There’s little funny things that all kind of nod back to golfing to some degree. You’re coming to a place that is thoughtful, but you can also have fun.”
The interiors were designed by renowned architect Clayton Korte. With plenty of golf-inspired hues of green and a gorgeous, attention-grabbing bar, the restaurant side of the space is a vibrant spectacle on its own. Plus, the Domain location provides plenty of room for all the amusement — more than 9,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor space — as well as ample parking, giving patrons easy access to the exciting business. Whether you come for the golf, the food or the drinks, the team is confident that you’ll want to return for more.
“You can come and just not care at all about mini golf and grab a drink and have dinner and have a phenomenal experience or you can do the complete opposite and just play mini golf,” explains Vik. “Our hope is that if you come and do one thing, you’re going to also want to do the other.”
With so many ways to experience The Dirdie Birdie, it can be difficult to explain the full scope of the space, but Chef Yanes keeps it simple.
“Do you want to have fun?” he says. “Come in and you’ll have fun. That’s it.”
The Dirdie Birdie is located at 10910 Domain Drive. Tickets for one round of mini golf are $18 and can be reserved online here. Walk-ins will also be accepted. For more information, visit their website and follow along on Instagram.