Golf simulator with robotic bartender coming to Arlington Heights shopping center

A shuttered laser tag facility in Arlington Heights will be transformed into a different kind of virtual experience venue.

Golf VX, a golf simulator with restaurant/bar, is set to open early next year at 622-644 E. Rand Road in the Southpoint Shopping Center.

The 11,938-square-foot big box space will have a dozen bays for golfers of all ages and skill levels to practice their swings year-round. The technology - features an auto tee-ball retrieval feature and two 3D motion cameras to measure ball flight data - mirrors the dynamics of playing on an outdoor course, officials say.

Golf VX is the Northbrook-based U.S. division of Kakao VX, a Korean indoor golf simulator company. The Arlington Heights location would be its first and flagship in the American market.

The golf bays will surround a centrally located robotic bartender, called the Makr Shakr, which was developed in Italy and now is in Las Vegas, London and Singapore. The device has two robotic arms that can craft cocktails from 158 bottles of spirits and juices hanging from a ceiling above the bar.

Employees will check identification, input the drink order on a computer screen, then serve the finished product to the customer, according to Gina Choi, the company's project manager.

The village board Monday issued special-use permits allowing a large amusement facility and restaurant with food and liquor service, but operators must return to the board for a liquor license.

"This is really innovative and I can see it being really popular," said Trustee Robin LaBedz. "And because it was in a location for Laser Quest years ago, I think it's a perfect location."

Officials say the facility will host tournaments, leagues, junior golf camps and golf lessons taught by a PGA teaching professional.

When the venue opens, it will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

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