Ever Dream of Opening a Bar? | A #PekinRestaurantWeek Special Feature


Ever Dream of Opening a Bar?

A #PekinRestaurantWeek Special Feature


Pekin, IL- Chris, Eric, and Ryan didn’t. But a plot twist to a dream dating back over 14 years ago helped a vision become a reality in 2021: The Bunker Indoor Golf Lounge.

What is an “indoor golf lounge” exactly? The Bunker hosts indoor, large-scale golf simulators: a big city offering in our Midwestern, small town of Pekin. Oh, and there’s a full-service bar to boot.

“We’re really lucky to have great golf courses in Pekin, and now we can enjoy indoor golf too,” says part-owner Eric.

Eric lays out the history of the idea and explains he has wanted to open a golf simulator hang-out spot for over a decade, but the technology- and price- just wasn’t there yet.

Eric continues, “I toured a lot of simulators in the Chicago area and then was waiting for the right opportunity.”

Eric and business partner Chris checked out many property locations over the years, including the old dance and tumbling building on Route 9, The Company. It wasn’t until last year when a close friend, Ryan, approached Eric and Chris that their dream looked possible.

Ryan proposed opening a bar behind BC BBQ near S 14th Street and El Camino. With not much in way of businesses in that area of town, it felt like the opportunity Eric and Chris had been waiting for as the once radically expensive and inaccurate technology of golf simulators was finally approaching the sought-after benchmark of advancement.

The team invested close to $1 million in building repairs and renovations, feeling “completely and totally invested in Pekin”. Opening its doors in August of last year, The Bunker now serves as a community experience for all ages.

“We’ve started hosting birthday parties for kids using our private simulator room,” says Eric. “There’s more than just golf, too. They can change up the games!” The aboutGOLF simulators offer goofy golf, corn hole, darts and more.

The Bunker Lounge is becoming popular with not just Pekinites, but is an attraction drawing visitors from Bloomington, Springfield, and Rockford areas regularly.

Even with the tourism attraction status, the team says it’s “pretty neat to walk in and always know someone here”. Eric comments it’s a big part of why they chose the name “The Bunker”. While an obvious pun on golf terminology, it’s also a homage to community.

“We’re not stuffy like other golf simulator businesses… you don’t need a membership to play here or just hang out,” Eric says.  

The Bunker Indoor Golf Lounge has discounts on their punny craft cocktail list for #PekinRestaurantWeek February 7th – 11th. With names like Water Hazard, The Torrey Pines and the John Daly, you’re sure to find something to love during this Pekin-wide restaurant promotion. 

Tee times can be booked online through The Bunker’s website at https://bunkergolf.net. Tee times are going fast in the blustery weather, so book early for access to peak times.

For exciting promotions and to learn more about what The Bunker has to offer, follow @BunkerGolfPekin on Facebook and Instagram.


Media Contact: Brittney Hogue

Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce 

Communications Coordinator 




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