Monday, October 3, 2022

Virtual golf, cocktails, and ‘ciapizza’ at Mayfair’s new Rounds Golf & Lounge

Aiming for a late January grand opening, Rounds showcases four virtual bays where you can play everything from golf at the world's best courses to zombie dodgeball.

Mayfaire's new Rounds Golf & Lounge aims for a grand opening at the end of January. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Mayfaire’s new Rounds Golf & Lounge aims for a grand opening at the end of January. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

WILMINGTON — In a city full of golfers, no public driving range, and pricey real estate, professional golfer Bryce Edmister saw an opportunity.

“Wilmington needed some sort of indoor facility,” Edmister said.

His first idea was a gym combined with a golf simulation area, but when he pitched it to local business developers Denis Ing and John Spencer, they saw a niche in Wilmington’s entertainment industry. Nowhere in town, they thought, could you play some of the world’s best courses in the comforts of a “lounge bay” while sipping a spiked Arnold Palmer (more on that later).

“We combined it all to make this a more scalable business, instead of being focused on a certain niche,” Ing said. “Why not have fun and play on a simulator?”

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A year and a half later, the three are set for a late-January grand opening of Rounds Golf and Lounge, located next to Five Guys in the Mayfaire shopping center.

The upscale virtual game lounge and bar will feature specialty cocktails, local craft beer, ciabatta pizza, and “non-grocery-store wines,” according to general manager Scott Nerdahl. And if golf’s not your game, you can rent a virtual bay to play any sport you can think of, including “zombie dodgeball”.

“With the variety of games here, it’s really an adult entertainment place that Wilmington’s been missing,” Ing said – a place for those who want another drink after dinner but want to avoid the party scene at the bars downtown or at Wrightsville Beach.

Take a visual tour of Rounds Golf and Lounge here: Virtual golf, cocktails and 'ciapizza'

Craft cocktails, local beer, and “ciapizza”

The bar will feature four local craft beers on tap: the current line-up is the Tropical Lightning from Wilmington Brewing Company, the most popular beer in town according to Nerdahl, and three drafts from Waterman’s Brewing.

The bar’s specialty will be the craft cocktail menu, Nerdahl said.

“We’re making our own honey-ginger syrup to use on a lot of these drinks, using local North Carolina honey,” Nerdahl said.

Although the menu’s still in the works, featured drinks will include:

  • The John Daly: a spiked Arnold Palmer; Tito’s vodka, fresh lemon, and sweet tea: “Perfect after nine holes on the simulator,” Nerdahl said.
  • Elderflower Thistle: a play on the Old Rusty Nail, using Saint Germaine Elderflower liqueur instead of Drambuie.
  • Fox Rose Fizz: made with rye whiskey and “muddling some orange slices, fresh lemon juice, a little bit of bitter, honey-ginger syrup, and topped with a good ginger beer.”
  • Southern Cucumber: bourbon with fresh cucumber, lime, lemon juice, and simple syrup served over ice: “Real refreshing, a good summer drink.”
  • Death by Chocolate: a chocolate martini with a dab of dark and white chocolate, vodka, and Kahlúa.

An entire wine wall features everything from $100 bottles of Caymus Cabernet to an $8 glass of Tortoise Creek, and customers can pick up bottles on-the-go.

Food will be centered around the active gamer: “All handhelds. People are going to be active here, people are going to be wearing a glove on one hand and want to sit down and grab a quick slice of pizza, a handheld sandwich, or grab a piece of cheese from the charcuterie board and sip a glass of wine,” Nerdahl said.

The pizza is made from ciabatta bread –– which is why Nerdahl said the employees now call it “ciapizza”.

About proving the concept

“What we’re offering here is exactly what the area is looking for — the golf, the wine, the whiskeys, the cocktails,” general manager Scott Nerdahl said. “It’s a little bit of everything; a perfect fit for Mayfair.”

For Ing, it was all about developing a business the city needed and one they could replicate in the future.

“Wilmington needed something like this,” Ing said. “You go to Charlotte and Raleigh, and they have those virtual “game holes” for the gaming crowd, and they’re also getting Top Golf, stuff like that. But for us in Wilmington, at a smaller scale, more local, this is where we’re at. We’re hoping to scale this, have multiple in the city, then see where else we can go. If this takes off, there’s no reason why we couldn’t have more. It’s just about proving the concept.”

He also said there are plenty of people in the area that travel for work. Aside from coming home to a comfortable place to play golf, no matter the weather, he hopes it can be a place where they can conduct business as well.

“[Deals] happen on the golf course, but sometimes people don’t have five hours for that,” Ing said. “We want them to come knock out the same deal here.”

The basics

Rounds Golf and Lounge is located at the Mayfaire shopping center next to Five Guys, 6801 Parker Farm Drive. 

The grand opening is set for the end of January, although a hard date is still in the works. You’ll be able to rent virtual bays by the hour – $40 for each, or $60 for the VIP section featuring a larger screen and couches – or purchase a membership package.

You can find more information at the Rounds Golf and Lounge website or on the company’s Facebook page.

Mark Darrough can be reached at

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