Things You Can Only Do in WI: Visit the Holler House Bowling Alley

Home to America’s oldest certified bowling alley, the Holler House is one tavern you won’t want to miss while you’re in Milwaukee. The Skowronski family has been running the place for more than 100 years, dishing out strong booze, a welcoming atmosphere, and tons of belly laughs. 

Two BIG things to note:

1. The carpet does NOT match the drapes.

You won’t think you’re in the right place when you get there, but I promise you are. Holler House may be reserved on the outside, but the interior is anything but ordinary! 

2. The smell will follow you home… BUT in a good way.

You’ll hit your bed and be reminded of all the good times you just had through that deep, rich, indescribable aroma. It’ll have you ready to head back first thing.

Holler House Bowling: That’s How They Roll

Founded in 1908 in the heart of Lincoln by “Iron Mike” Skowronski, you’ll find a number of unique attractions such as the boob-load of bras left by past patrons and a wide variety of alcohol. And that’s just on the upper level! All the bowling action takes place below.

The bar keeps it old school – through a total of five generations – to the point that their bowling pins are still set by by the hands the youngest Skowronskis. (Don’t forget to tip!!) Scorecards are tacked are tacked on the wall and points are added one by one.

For you youngsters, that’s how we did it in the “olden days” before all the tech. 

The two hardwood lanes are kept well oiled with a spray can, there’s always someone ready to reset the pins for you, and maybe even a regular to go up against. There’s no bumpers, so be prepared to being your A-game. You can even just watch and trash talk if that’s your thing or add your name to the thousands of signatures that line the cinderblock wall along the lanes.

As for balls, there 16 of them to choose from. If your name is Rick, there’s a purple ball with your name on it waiting for you. (Quite literally!) With limited availability, reserve your slot ASAP.

Patrons have the option of renting shoes, bringing their own, or borrowing them from a regular. (Evidently that’s a thing!?)

Are you a Gutterball Guru? You’ll Still Love Holler House

If you’re not into bowling, stay upstairs for the large array of bottled beer, a Brewers game or two, or hop on an arcade game and zone out for a while. Talk to the bartender about the place, it’s history, and be sure to ask about Marcy’s jokes! 

Marcy Skowronski was a name known throughout Milwaukee and was synonymous with Holler House up until her passing in 2020. Josh Hoppert over at the Milwaukee Record was lucky enough to catch Marcy tell one of her famous dirty jokes before she passed. Jokes are only one of her many legacies aside from her legendary trash talk, sense of humor, and general badassery.

Holler House is located at 2042 W Lincoln Ave, which is right off MCTS Route 53 in what used to be a predominately Polish neighborhood. When you make it down there, be ready for a good time. 

P.S. It’s tradition for first-timers to sign and leave their bra behind so ladies and gents, be prepared to surrender your underwear.

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