Even though the pins, balls and lanes at Bob & Willie’s Wonderbowl are half the size, its website promises the experience is “twice the fun.”
The bar and mini bowling combination has quickly become an Omaha staple. The first location opened in the Blackstone District of Omaha in January, and managing partner Phil Schaffart said the concept will roll into Lincoln by the end of this year.
The lanes are about 30 feet long and are slightly elevated to make the game more enjoyable. The bowling balls only weigh 3 pounds.
It's intended to be a family-friendly, engaging atmosphere — with no strings attached. Unlike other mini bowling locations across the country, Wonderbowl’s pins aren’t supported by ropes. The bowling experience is as close to the real thing as possible, Schaffart said, but a lot less stressful.
“It’s definitely a little bit easier to score, and I think it's more fun than regular bowling,” Schaffart said. “Anybody can play.”
Mini bowling, also called duckpin bowling, can be found in other states, but Wonderbowl is the first of its kind in Nebraska.
While Wonderbowl in Omaha is only open to customers over 21, Lincoln’s alley will be open to all ages.
The Lincoln Wonderbowl will still have a full cocktail bar. Along with its spirits, the Omaha restaurant serves wings, cheesesteaks and more. Lincoln’s location will be focused more around pizza, Schaffart said.
Wonderbowl in Lincoln will have 10 lanes — the Omaha location has six.
Operations manager Chad Shoeman said he sees Wonderbowl becoming a growing trend.
All Together Hospitality Management owns several Omaha bars and restaurants, including Bar 39, Renos Karaoke and Little Ricky’s Rooftop Bar. The company is also preparing to open Blue Sky Patio and Pickleball Courts in Omaha in July.
Shoeman said they hope to take Wonderbowl to other states, as well.
“People just keep asking, and we’re listening,” Shoeman said.
Photos: The best bowlers in the state take aim at a state bowling championship
Jenna Thompson is a news intern who has previous writing and editing experience with her college paper and several literary journals. She is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln pursuing degrees in English and journalism.