The Burnsville Bowl was at 1200 E. Highway 13 in Burnsville – the northeast corner of Highway 13 and Minnegasco Road, as it was described when it was built in 1967. It was developed by the owners of the Maplewood Bowl. Original plans called for 24 lanes, a bar, restaurant, and a nursery.
El Matador Lounge: April 1967 to September 1970
1970: vocal group upstairs and “acid rock” downstairs.
In 1972 the El Matador Lounge was managed by Milton Olsen.
In December 1972 there was a room called J.T.’s, but that didn’t seem to last long.
EL TIGRE LOUNGE
In April 1973 the El Tigre Lounge featured Bea Bea Benson, “Miss Showmanship;” pianist, songstress, and risque comedienne.
OBSCENITY IN BURNSVILLE
In May 1974, Mayor Alfred Hall, a Mormon bishop, sought to get rid of the go-go dancers and lingerie shows at the cocktail lounge, calling it a “tide of filth.” Under the threat of losing its liquor license, owner Milton Olsen voluntarily discontinued the shows. The issue spread to an all-out obscenity campaign by the Mayor, who proceeded to draft the filthiest ordinance imaginable. The City Council passed the ordinance, and Olsen said he would lose $100,000 in business as a result.
An article in the Minneapolis Star called the Bowl a “cowboy-biker-bowler bar complex” with a “blue collar mellow” ambiance. It had a “crazy mix of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ heavily tempered with ‘Urban Cowboy.'” The article described the five “play areas” at the Bowl. (August 22, 1980)
The Playpen was the only area that had a cover charge, which was usually $1.50, more for special events. In 1979 the Playpen hosted Minneapolis’s answer to Elvis. Country rock was the music of the day in 1980, and the dance floor was described as tiny.
This was a quiet lounge with “live mood music” and snacks. It was “decorated in in red felt walls and black velveteen couches in old-time bawdyhouse style.”
THE SPARE ROOM
Spare, bowling, get it? This was a “quiet bowlers’ bar with a TV, adjoining the 24-lane bowling alley and a hall stuffed with shuffleboard courts and pool tables.”
THE SNOOPY ROOM
Also known as the Nursery, this was still being used as a nursery during the day. By night it was a “quiet one-table pool room for those who value concentration.”
In 1977 the Silver Sliver was a disco in the basement. Here is a review by the Minneapolis Tribune (November 4, 1977):
Getting there is half the fun, since the only way to enter is down the Silver Sliver, a circular slide that makes 1 1/2 revolutions on your way down. (You have to use the more-mundane stairs to get out.) Dancers select their own records on a juke box. Small dance floor.
In 1980 the article said it was a place “where young men in vests and cowboy hats with folding Buck knives strapped to their belts boogie on the small stainless-steel dance floor.”
Another article described the clientele as “the most un-disco-looking dancers you’ve ever seen grinding around on a small steel floor.” Also, “The mellowness is enforced by leather-vested heavies.” (Star, October 17, 1980)
In December 1983 the owner was Deleano Benjamin.
In August 1992, Jungle Bungee set up a crane in the parking lot and participated in the bungee jumping fad. The first jump was $55, the second $25.
HOT SHOTS BAR
The Hot Shots Bar was around in April 1995
In 2007 you had the 12th Avenue Lounge and the 1200 Club.
The Burnsville Bowl building was sold and shuttered in 2010.