There simply aren’t enough duckpin bowling establishments in the world, a sad state of affairs combatted in part by Koz’s Mini Bowl in Milwaukee, the longest continuously operating establishment of its kind in Wisconsin. The history behind the four mini-bowling lanes at the rear of the bar is intense, a winding story that dates back to the building’s construction in the 1880s and its operation as a tavern of some sort for the entirety of its history. After a small fire in 1904, an addition was built, eventually serving as the space occupied by the mini-bowl lanes today. The lanes themselves were added in 1947 to bring additional business into the corner Milwaukee dive bar.
Koz’s Mini Bowl came to be in 1978 when DuWayne Roger Kosakoski (the namesake of the bar) purchased what was then Parkview Lanes, pledging to not just keep mini bowling but to use it as the centerpiece for the business. Leagues often made use of the lane and a rolling list of individuals scoring 300 games was started and still exists today in the rear of the space. Ownership eventually passed to son Justin Kosakoski though the space was put up for sale in 2022. Still today, the lanes are operated by human pin setters who reset knocked down pins and roll the ball back to the shooter.
Outside of the lanes themselves, the bar that surrounds them is equally compelling, a mish-mash of farm equipment brought into the space by DuWayne Roger upon his purchase of the space and a slew of other vintage items that have remained largely untouched for decades. The taxidermy game is strong here, the obvious centerpiece a lion, of all things, that presides over the proceedings.