GREENVILLE — The often-used phrase for the new Group Therapy Pub & Playground in the heart of downtown Greenville is “address the elephant in the room.”
And sure enough, there’s a life-size replica of an elephant to … address … from the comfort of a couch.
It’s all part of the theme that owner Matthew Hubbard has cultivated to create an interactive entertainment experience coupled with a cocktail bar, beer station and food offerings.
After a series of soft openings, Group Therapy is now open as a signature attraction of the Camperdown plaza.
The 19,000-square-foot space has been transformed into an adult playground — featuring an 18-hole, pop culture-themed mini-golf course, lanes for axe-throwing, synthetic ice curling, ping pong and backyard games.
And, of course, karaoke.
Far from a Chuck E. Cheese, the food and beverage offerings are meant to be inventive.
There’s unique cocktails like the fruity “Toxic Masculinity” with Bulrush and Hayman’s Old Tom gin, watermelon shrub and basil simple syrup, and the boozy “White Elephant” with Deep Eddy vodka, Kaluha and Hilton Head Island Cream. Larger, shareable drinks are encouraged as part of the concept of communing.
Domestic beers are offered traditionally, but craft beers featuring local and regional brews are part of a self-serve beer station that, like other models, allows a customer to track drinks by the ounce of pour.
The food menu is breezy with a combination of shareable bites like the “Adult Lunchable” (crackers with an assortment of salamis, jalapeno pimento cheese, pickled okra and an Oreo cookie) and “Wild Wild West Egg Rolls,” and individual plates like avocado toast and artisan salad.
The theme is rooted in Hubbard’s life experience, which he openly discusses, that involves his personal development through actual behavioral therapy.
Hubbard is particularly inspired by his connection to a woman who was a random person seeking a bone marrow transplant match who became a close friend after he donated.
As he contemplated a new purpose in life, the friend abruptly passed away shortly after the surgery, a reality he had to come to terms with.
The concept is unique in downtown Greenville, and the experiment will play out in one of the highest-profile locales.
The venue is open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is booked by appointment and accommodates groups who can reserve time slots for the various games.
Follow Eric on Twitter at @cericconnor.