Sophie Bolich

Koz’s Mini Bowl For Sale

That includes the tavern, four duckpin bowling lanes and two upstairs apartments, listed for sale Thursday.

By - Aug 29th, 2022 01:31 pm
Koz's Mini Bowl. Photo taken May 13, 2016 by Michael Horne.

Koz’s Mini Bowl. Photo taken May 13, 2016 by Michael Horne.

Koz’s Mini Bowl, a long-standing southside establishment, is up for sale after more 44 years in business.

Koz’s, 2076-2078 S. 7th St., has everything you might expect from the quintessential Milwaukee neighborhood bar: billiards, darts, a vintage jukebox and plenty of taplines—plus a few things you wouldn’t, like the carpenter’s shed worth of rusty tools hanging on the wood-paneled walls or the taxidermy lion sporting a Pabst hat atop his mane.

Expected or not, everything in the 3,540-square-foot business, plus two second-story residential apartments, would be included in the sale. With a list price of $499,000, the place is marketed as a turnkey operation with a stable customer base.

Koz’s is a Milwaukee favorite, but has also garnered popularity far beyond city limits. In fact, the Historic Mitchell Street bar holds a slew of titles: Koz’s was named one of the top 13 most romantic places in Wisconsin, made Esquire’s 2012 list of Best Bars in America and received a notable mention from Thrillist.

The building itself dates to 1890, when it was built as a saloon, dining room and dance hall. For the succeeding century plus, the establishment would continue to operate largely as a tavern, including when it became Koz’s in the late 70s.

Though the tavern overlooks Kosciuszko Park, the name Koz’s actually comes from DuWayne Roger Kosakoski, who opened the bar as Koz’s Mini Bowl in May, 1978. His son, Justin, now owns and operates the bar.

In 2020, Koz’s was shuttered temporarily during the worst of the pandemic. That same year Justin Kosakoski was the victim of a hit and run, ending up with two broken legs. After a tumultuous final few years, Justin Kosakoski said he is ready for the next chapter in his life.

“I love what I do, and I’m a huge part of the legend here in Milwaukee,” Kosakoski said. “But I’m just looking for a little more simplicity in my life.”

He also shared his hopes that the new owners keep the business the same. “My main goal is to keep it as Koz’s. It’s loved by many…and I don’t want it to change for people.”

Earlier this month, the bar hosted a “vintage indoor garage sale” to sell bar materials, among other things. An eclectic mishmash of tap handles, playboy magazines, ceramic cookie jars and a Valentine’s Day-themed Spongebob figurine were all for sale during the week-long event.

The tavern’s crown jewel is the duckpin bowling, a miniature of the ten-pin game. Bowlers can wear regular shoes and use a softball-sized, three-pound ball to disrupt a fleet of 10-inch, wooden pins. With no mechanical setup in place, Koz’s became known for employing neighborhood kids to reset the pins after each attempt.

“What my dad did, I do the same thing,” Kosakoski said. “To know that you’re a huge impact on these community kids’ lives one of the main reasons why I love what I do,” he said.

Koz’s four, 17-foot lanes were installed in 1947, making it the longest continually running mini bowling spot in the state. It’s also the only one in Milwaukee, though another, which never came to fruition, was proposed in 2018 for Downtown. Dan Zierath of the Zierath Restaurant Group planned to open Thirsty Duck at the Posner Building, 152 W. Wisconsin Ave. The space now serves as the headquarters for the dockless scooter company, Blue Duck.

Those interested in purchasing Koz’s Mini Bowling can contact listing agent Patrick Simonis at 262-844-6232 or request more information via the listing website.

2016 Photos

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