By Daryl Penner
Tired of the same activities when hanging out with friends? Finally there’s a brand new fun sport in town and just about everyone can participate.
The Fōwling Warehouse, 1020 W. 103 St., in the Watts Mill Plaza, combines two popular sports, F(ootball) and (B)owling. There are about 50 million bowlers in the U.S. and more than 100 million football fans.
Fōwling (pronounced like bowling) is similar to playing cornhole, only on steroids. Instead of throwing a small bean bag into a 6-inch hole, Fōwling participants take turns throwing full-size footballs at 10 standard 3.5-pound bowling pins about 40 feet away. Positioned like they are in a bowling alley, the pins are set on a 4 feet x 8 feet 4-inch high wooden platform, also known as the Fōwling Board. There are 16 “lanes” containing 32 Fōwling Boards.
The objective is to knock down all ten pins before the other team knocks down your team’s pins. Winner stays on to compete with the next team. The boards are surrounded by large nets stretching to the 15-foot cavernous ceiling that prevent off-target throws or crazy-bouncing balls from hitting someone who is not playing or paying attention.
The throw can be a spiral, end-over-end, underhand, wobbling or any other way. One quick way to win a game, is to knock down the #5 pin all by itself on the first throw which is called a “BONK”. The Bonker gets to write his or her name on the wall while a very loud horn blows.
Fōwling originated at the Indy 500 parking lot more than 20 years ago while friends tailgated. It evolved over time at multiple sporting events as tailgating alternatives to cornhole, horseshoes and playing catch. Fast forward many years and one of the originators decided to combine the sport with a bar to create the first Fōwling Warehouse in Michigan in 2014.
The Kansas City location is owned by two locals, David Dunn and Charley Puhr, who met years ago at the University of Kansas while obtaining their MBA’s. They searched for the perfect franchise but never found a sports-related business that hadn’t already been started.
In 2022, a friend of Dave’s wife discovered the sport and contacted Dave to suggest he do some research. After reviewing the company website he called Charley immediately. Within days the pair were on the phone with the founders and shortly thereafter were on their way to visit out-of-town locations.
Joining them as bar manager is Charley’s friend of 30 years Zac Nowels. The two friends have been in the hospitality business for a combined 40 years plus.
The bar will have nearly 70 total beers in-house, including 12 beers on tap. The tap beers will be poured using unique Bottoms-Up technology. The beer glasses are manufactured with a magnet located in the bottom. Glasses are snapped onto the tap which pokes up the magnet, and fills the glass from the bottom. This hands-free system reduces the time of service, maximizes keg output and reduces foam at the top of the beer.
The enormous 25,000 square foot space next to Price Chopper, is ideal for bachelor/bachelorette parties, reunions, corporate functions or meetings (powerpoint projectors are available) and fundraisers. The facility can accommodate private functions for 300 to 400 people.
To reduce operational headaches, the owners decided to pass on including a full kitchen. Instead they welcome a BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) system or food delivery from one of the more than 15 restaurants within a half mile, including Italian (Jaspers), American-style locations (Southside Bar & Grill), BBQ, Mexican, Chinese and more.
The cost to play Fōwling is only $15 for unlimited, all-day play. There is no admission fee upon entry and playing Fōwling is not required. Enjoy watching a game on one of the many TVs and have a beer, mixed drink or soft drink. Individuals must be 10 years or older to play, and under 21 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants under 21 must leave at 8 pm. Hours of operations are: Wednesday to Thursday 4 to10 p.m., Friday 2 to11 pm, Saturday 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday noon to 6 pm. It’s open weekdays for corporate and group events.
Someday Fōwling may be as popular as pickleball, because it involves more beer and less sweating. Furthermore, it’s the perfect environment for high school and college athletes to relive their glory days with teammates.
The Fōwling Warehouse grand opening is scheduled for the weekend of November 10th and will include a fundraiser for the Cars for Heroes organization benefiting military personnel and first responders. More information can be found at www.FowlingWarehouse.com.