This month for my husband's 40th birthday, we decided to hunt down Koz's Mini Bowl in Milwaukee, WI.
We found the nondescript building after riding several blocks through older neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
The current owners purchased the bar, featuring miniature bowling lanes, in 1978.
We opened the door and stepped into a somewhat small bar with a pool table in the middle of the first room. Looking through the doorways into the next room, we could get a glimpse of the mini bowling lanes.
The 17 foot lanes were installed in the 1950s and use mini balls, mini pins and employ humans to set up the pins and do ball return duty for the bowlers.
Talking to the owner Carol, it seems we lucked out because she had a no show on a reservation, and it was possible we could have their lane. She was going to give them a few more minutes to turn up. Since we were ravenously hungry, we ordered a couple of Jack's pizzas, a pitcher of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a Coke, and found a seat so we could watch the bowlers.
The music was loud, but it was a lot of songs I remember from high school, so it was right up my alley (no pun intended). And I saw that I wasn't the only one grooving to the tunes.
Shortly we were told we could have the lane, so we got our score sheet, and with Kim at the scoring helm, we let birthday boy take the first turn.
Taking one of the colorful four pound mini balls, he rolled it down the lane for a perfect strike.
Heck, soon we all figured out that this shorter lane/lighter ball bowling made us all look like pros. Matt, my husband and I were getting strikes and spares left and right.
We all struggled a bit to remember how to manually score a bowling game.
The pinsetter men were hustling the four lanes, jumping down to pick up pins and return balls, then back up on their perch to get clear of the lane for the next turn.
On my last frame, I left one pin standing. Our pinsetter, when clearing the pins, had an, er, clumsy moment where he knocked that last pin over. Darn, a spare! Which gave me another frame!
During our visit, Carol also told us that Koz's is the last mini bowl of the kind in Milwaukee.
The place is a real bargain, from the drinks to the bowling (and tips to the pinsetters) and quite a find. We had a great time, and will add this to our list of fun things to do when in Milwaukee. And next time we'll be sure to make a reservation.
Koz's Mini Bowl
2078 S 7th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204