Looking for the next great Cincinnati pastime? Try Fowling

Dec 5, 2019

When Xavier grad Joe Frank walked into the massive Detroit warehouse, he had to be a part of it. He just knew. 

“I thought, ‘I’ve got to get one of these in Cincinnati,’” he said.

And he was qualified. Frank knew he could use his Xavier entrepreneurship degree to help start the region’s first Fowling (football plus bowling) Warehouse.

That was three years ago. And last May, Frank, (’03 Entrepreneurial Studies) was able to open the first Fowling Warehouse outside of Michigan. 

“I just knew it was going to be so much fun for this area,” said Frank, 38. “And then we'll expand all over Ohio.”

Which leads us to the main question: What exactly is Fowling?

According to Frank, it was a spur-of-the-moment game created in 2001 by a friend while in the infield at the Indianapolis 500. Three years ago, it became a real thing when that creator opened that huge warehouse in Detroit, where he could invite patrons to come in, enjoy some adult beverages, and play the game.

He left a general manager job at Roto-Rooter and now, Frank has a 47,000-square-foot warehouse in Oakley, just across the Norwood border. In May, the Fowling Warehouse opened to the Cincinnati public.

So how do you play? Yes, it’s like a cross between football and bowling, but Frank also says to throw in a bit of cornhole, because the object is to knock down your opponent’s bowling pins, with a football, from 45 feet away.

And, of course, patrons can do this while sipping on their choice of 100-plus beers, plus liquor and wine. (As a bonus: They have something called The Mystery Beer Machine, where for $2-$5, someone can hit a button and get a surprise suds).

“The thing is, this is for everyone,” Frank said of the game. “It’s for no specific age or gender. You can play two-on-two to five-on-five. It only costs $10 for a whole day of playing. It’s pretty challenging and gets addicting.”

Frank's biggest wish? To attract the students of the nearby universities, like he did when he hosted a pre-game party for his alma mater last Saturday. And no one should question Frank’s fandom. After all, his son’s name is Xavier. And he met his wife while attending the school.

“Attending Xavier gave me the confidence to go out and start a business,” he said. “I was able to learn the operating, marketing, financial and accounting aspects. These skills helped tremendously.”

— Ryan Clark, Xavier Marketing and Communications 


Fowling Warehouse 

When: open daily, 5 p.m. - 1 a.m.
Saturday: noon to 1 a.m.
Sunday: noon to 10 p.m.
Where: Fowling Warehouse
2940 Highland Ave., Suite 230
Cost: $10 for an entire day
Phone: 513-900-0959

Watch games on one of their 18 televisions, including two large-projection screen TVs, and choose from 100 different kinds of beer. 

You might also like: