Sister Bay Bowl, a Strike Above the Rest [Slideshow]

The Sister Bay Bowl is a six-lane bowling alley constructed in 1958. (WhooNEW/Zak Bruss)

The Sister Bay Bowl is a six-lane bowling alley constructed in 1958. (WhooNEW/Zak Bruss)

Door County is one of Northeast Wisconsin’s premiere vacation destinations.  With its small town charm and rich traditions, the peninsula attracts visitors from Green Bay and the Fox Cities, as well as from south of the border in Illinois.

Sister Bay, with a population of just under 900, is one of those little map dots in Door County worthy of a stop.  Besides its abundance of outdoor recreational activities, the village is also home to one of my favorite places, the Sister Bay Bowl.

If you can spare the time to travel to Sister Bay, from either Highway 57 or 42, you’ll definitely want to stop at this historic establishment.

Originally operated as the Sister Bay Hotel beginning in 1917, the business has seen a variety of changes through the years.  According to the Bowl’s website, in 1958 Earl and Rita Willems tore down a dance hall attached to the building and built a bowling alley.  Six years later they opened a supper club.  And to this day, the Willems family still operates the Sister Bay Bowl.

The ball return is one of the many interesting features of the Bowl. (WhooNEW/Zak Bruss)

The ball return is one of the many interesting features of the Bowl. (WhooNEW/Zak Bruss)

Now if it’s a game of 10 pin you are looking for, this is your stop.  While small in comparison to newer bowling alleys, the Bowl has a charm you won’t find anywhere else.  For $3 a game, including shoes, you have a choice of six lanes.  Unlike more contemporary alleys, here you’ll have to keep score the old fashioned way.  Click here if you need of a refresher on how to do so.

To me, the nostalgic details of the Sister Bay Bowl are what make it such a draw.  Besides the score sheets, the alley itself has unique features.  As you prepare to launch your ball down the lane, take a moment to notice the magnificent 10 pin sign sandwiched between lanes three and four.  And as you wait for the pins to reset (if you didn’t get a gutter ball) take note of the fantastic ball return and retro styling of the Bowl.

But don’t get too caught up in your bowling – remember the Sister Bay Bowl is also a supper club and bar.  As you wait for your dinner, you’ll find a friendly bar staff ready to mix you the cocktail of your desire.  There is also a good selection of beer on tap and wine to choose from.

If you are going for the supper club experience, the perch dinner is highly recommended.  If you aren’t into fish, you may want to give the broasted chicken a try.  These menu offerings vary depending on the daily special.  If you’re looking for something quick for the entire family, the Bowl’s pizzas are sure to please.  You’ll also find other Wisconsin favorites including cheese curds, which are also a good option if you’re bowling and need a snack.

So the next time you find yourself in Door County, put an X on your map or program your GPS to 10640 N. Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay.  It’s a stop that will make new memories for you and your family and keep you coming back for generations.

Slideshow – Sister Bay Bowl

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  1. My favorite thing about Sister Bay Bowl? Most of the “FIBs” don’t know about it! Just kidding Illinois people – we love you.

  2. We bowled there once when it was pouring outside…couldn’t believe it was the only bowling alley in Door County! Plus good for the kids to see how to actually keep score!

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