About Us

Welcome to Garage Bar & Bowl

We are a family-owned boutique sports bar and bowling alley offering good times for everyone. From after-work happy hour and weekend Bloody Marys to live music and fun nights out with friends and family, you’ll find it all at Garage Bar & Bowl.

Good food. Good times. Good people.

That’s what you can expect at Garage Bar & Bowl, plain and simple. This vision wasn’t brought to life overnight, though, and required years of industry experience, hard work, and dedicated passion before it could even be tested.

After buying the building in December 2017, owners Dan and Amy Madsen began an extensive renovation project to completely redefine the space. They wanted to create an atmosphere that complements the location’s 100+ year history and industrial roots, yet brings a uniquely updated, trendy, perpetual party feel to downtown Waconia. They succeeded with the grand opening of Garage Bar & Bowl in August 2018.

Today, the Garage Bar & Bowl (the Garage, for short) takes pride in offering something for everyone. Looking to watch the big game? Bring the whole crew for the ultimate experience at Garage, voted Best Sports Bar in Carver County with big screen TVs and projectors all around letting you catch every play with ease. Looking for a fun date night or group activity? The Garage was also voted Best Bowling Alley in Carver County with our boutique six-lane bowling alley and fun, relaxed bowling leagues. If you’re hungry, order a Garage Pizza, Wings or any other delicious house-made menu item from our scratch kitchen.

Just like our building, we have roots in Waconia, and proudly support our community through sponsorships and donations. We take pride in Waconia and are honored to sponsor youth sports, adult rec. leagues, local non-profits, and our other local businesses.

From birthday or work parties to brunch with our award-winning Bloody Mary bar, the Garage experience provides exceptional service in a fun, friendly atmosphere fit for any occasion. We look forward to showing you how.

Contact us to learn more about current specials, offerings, or hosting an upcoming event.

History of 16 West 1st Street

  • 1919

    Estimated year the building is constructed. August Graff and Charles Kelzer operate Graff and Kelzer Hardware and Dodge Bros. Motor Cars at the location.

  • 1920

    George Kelzer partners with Charles Kelzer and renames the business Kelzer Brothers Hardware and Dodge Bros. Motor Cars.

  • 1921

    George Holden and Messrs. H. Torkleson purchase Kelzer Brothers Garage and begin operation as Torkleson Auto Company at the location.

  • 1924

    Ehrenberg and Kreitlow, owners of the Waconia Motor Express, acquire the building from Holden and Torkleson. They use the garage privately for their local offices and storage of their three large trucks.

  • 1926

    Ehrenberg and Kreitlow build 54’x100’ tile addition (original garage measured 50’x50’) to support their growing business, which by this point does a large volume of the motor transport business between Waconia and Minneapolis. Waconia Motor Express also takes on the Hudson-Essex line of automobiles, utilizing the added garage space to branch out in sales, and soon also repairs, of these vehicles.

  • 1928

    William (Bill) Ehrenberg becomes sole owner of the Kreitlow and Erhrenberg Garage building and the Waconia Motor Express.

  • 1928

    August Schesso and Frank Peitz, who were employees of Ehrenberg and Kreitlow, purchase the auto repair department of Waconia Motor Express and also take over the sales and service of the Hudson-Essex dealership. By 1929 Frank Peitz becomes sole owner of the garage and adds Chevrolet autos into the mix.

  • 1930

    Alfred Harms and John Emmick open an auto garage on site.

  • 1939

    Bill Ehrenberg installs four bowling lanes.

  • 1954

    Orville Schwalbe leases the alleys from Bill Ehrenberg and begins operation as Waconia Alleys. Now living in Waconia and formerly from Chaska, Orville is well-known in the area as the proprietor of the Wa-Co Drive-In.

  • 1958

    Bill Ehrenberg remodels the building, installing two additional bowling lanes and six new AMF automatic pin setters.

  • 1967

    Bill Ehrenberg Jr. takes over possession of the bowling alley upon the death of his father, Bill Sr.

  • 1970

    Glenn McElyea purchases the lanes and begins operation of Waconia Lanes.

  • 1974

    John Carlock and Terry Wilkinson purchase the building and rename it Chancellor House.

  • 1976

    Bill “Curt” Bohn acquires the Chancellor House and operates it for the next 19 years.

  • 1995

    Bill Lano purchases the building, completes some remodeling, and renames the establishment Billy's.

  • 2005

    New owners rename the business Mark and Jessie’s Lanes.

  • 2007

    The business operates as Waconia’s only bowling alley under new management with Josh Brandenburg.

  • 2017

    After several years of struggling business, Waconia Lanes is repossessed by the bank and is at risk of liquidation and being demolished. Despite the poor shape of the building, Dan and Amy Madsen proceed with the bank and close on the property in December 2017.

  • 2018

    Following eight long months of total renovation, the Madsens open Waconia’s premier boutique sports bar, grill, and bowling alley: Garage Bar & Bowl.


Join Our Team at Waconia's Premier Sports Bar & Bowling Alley

At Garage Bar & Bowl, we believe in setting the standard for local food and service. We take pride in providing fun for everyone, a fresh and delicious menu, and a memorable experience for every customer who walks through the door.

Maintaining that standard means hiring experienced servers, bartenders, and other restaurant industry professionals who know how to combine professionalism, service, and fun in a fast-paced environment. If that sounds like you, we’d love to meet!