A new "football bowling" bar will open later this month near The Mayfair Collection in Wauwatosa.
1st & Bowl has taken over a 20,500-square-foot former industrial warehouse building located at 2969 N. 114th St. It includes "fowling," which is a game that involves throwing a football at bowling pins, as well as a full bar and kitchen.
Milwaukee's latest activity bar concept has been a long time coming for 1st & Bowl LLC co-owners Tim Johnson, Bryan MacKenzie and Craig Galarneau.
The trio originally planned to open 1st & Bowl last year in a warehouse at 1132 S. Barclay St. in Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood, but the city's Zoning Board of Appeals denied requests to change the property's zoning from industrial to commercial so they had to search for a new location, Johnson said.
That same request was later approved by The City of Wauwatosa.
"We are really happy with the new location because we're so close to The Mayfair Collection and all the development along (West Burleigh Street)," he said. "We found the amount of space we were looking for, while keeping costs down and being close to surrounding restaurants."
1st & Bowl LLC spent about $500,000 to renovate the current space, which will officially open to the public on June 22. That work included installing a kitchen, bar, bathrooms, and building out lanes for football bowling.
The object of the game is to be the first team to knock down the opposing teams’ bowling pins by throwing a football at a traditional 10-pin layout on a wooden platform. MacKenzie got the idea for 1st & Bowl while visiting his parents in Detroit and playing the game at Fowling Warehouse, a venue similar to what 1st & Bowl will be when it opens.
1st & Bowl will serve upscale bar fare, offering a menu of eight to 10 items such as pizza and sandwiches. Its full bar will focus on beer, specifically, local craft brews.
Johnson said the new concept fits in with Wisconsin's tailgate culture and will be a popular destination during winter especially, when people are looking for things to do but don't want to spend time outside.
"People don't want to just go sit in a bar anymore," he said. "They'd rather be doing an activity."
1st & Bowl will be open starting June 22, but it host a grand opening celebration on July 13.
The concept joins a cohort of activity-based bars that have opened or are in the works in Milwaukee including Oak & Shield Gaming Pub, Up-Down MKE, AXE MKE and Fling Milwaukeeat Bounce Milwaukee and the NorthSouth Club.