After bringing the concept of “football bowling” to the Milwaukee area in 2019, 1st and Bowl has added another game to its roster.
The bar-entertainment venue recently opened a “Nerf Wars Tactical Zone” on the upper level of its 20,500-square-foot warehouse building in Wauwatosa. Groups of up to 20 people can rent the 3,000-square-foot arena – complete with obstacles, shelters and targets – to battle friends or co-workers in organized Nerf gun competitions such as capture the flag and humans vs. zombies.
The concept was an idea that sprung out of the COVID-19 shutdown last year, said 1st and Bowl co-owner Bryan MacKenzie. While 1st and Bowl sat empty for a few months, he and partners Tim Johnson and Craig Galarneau had time to think about how they would keep things new and exciting for customers.
Since opening, 1st and Bowl had attracted more families and kids than originally expected. But its mainstay game, football bowling, proved to be challenging for the younger demographic.
“So, we said, ‘We need to find a way to cater more toward some of these other groups that we see come in. … We have to look for a way to be better,’” said MacKenzie.
Interest has gradually picked up since the Nerf Wars Tactical Zone opened late last year. Events have ranged from a 6-year-old birthday party to a bachelor party, but once the pandemic subsides, MacKenzie expects corporate groups to make up a significant portion of bookings.