Angeline Terry

Falcon Bowl Is For Sale

Classic Riverwest bar is one of last in the city affiliated with a fraternal organization.

By - Jun 25th, 2021 12:38 pm
Falcon Bowl. Photo by Michael Horne.

Falcon Bowl. Photo by Michael Horne.

Falcon Bowl, the bar, bowling alley and hall in Riverwest, is for sale after over 75 years under the current owner. The sale includes both the bar and the building at 801-803 E. Clarke St. 

The 12,197-square-foot building includes the first-floor commercial space and a three-bedroom apartment above.

It is listed for sale for $249,000 by real estate agent Lance Wooten of Riverwest Realty. In 1945, the Polish Falcons of America bought it for $24,750, which is less than what Riverwest Realty estimates the down payment would be on a 30-year mortgage.

City records indicate that the building was built in 1882. Downstairs, there are bowling lanes that were first certified in 1913, making them some of the oldest in continual operation in America.

The building long housed a tavern and dance hall, according to a 2016 Bar Exam column by Michael Horne.

Past tenants include Hanke’s Hall, Wanta’s Hall and Papka’s Hall. In 1934, Paul Listwan obtained a permit to open the space as a “Tavern & Dance Hall.” He listed its use during Prohibition as “Same” on the permit, indicating it was one of many local bars that flouted the federal law. In the 1970s, the tavern was operated as the Hard Time’s Tap.

The hall has also been a place for live music, including early performances by the Milwaukee-based Violent Femmes and shows from blues greats like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf.

When founded in 1887, the Polish Falcons of America Nest 725 was one of several fraternal societies that offered insurance policies to members before the advent of Social Security or worker’s compensation. It also offered a clubhouse and other amenities to its members. Nest 725 was the third home of this fraternal organization and is now the only remaining Nest in the State. 

The building is assessed for $230,700.   

The Falcon Bowl advertised bowling leagues on its Facebook page as recently as August 2019, saying “No experience needed, but you do need a desire to enjoy a great time.” But the social media has gone dark since.

The bar business is owned by R. Lynn Okopinski.

Falcon Bowl joins Klinger’s East, which was listed for sale in December, as Riverwest bars currently for sale.

A representative of Nest 725 did not respond to a request for more information by the time of publication.

2016 Photos

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.

One thought on “Falcon Bowl Is For Sale”

  1. Carolannbrill says:

    The Eastside Housing Action Committee ran Bingo games at Falcon Bowl to support neighborhood improvement projects in the 70’s. I was the Bingo queen 😂. Carol Brill

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us