This month almost 26 years to the day since it opened its doors at Covington Landing on Aug. 24, 1990, Howl at the Moon is returning to Cincinnati.

The dueling piano bar, started by Cincinnati native Jimmy Bernstein, is teaming up with Orlando-based Splitsville Luxury Lanes in a unique entertainment complex in the former Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar location, 145 E. Second St., at the Banks.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Bernstein, 67, who maintains a home in Walnut Hills but closed Howl’s Cincinnati location after an ill-timed move to Over-the-Rhine in 2001.

“I made the brilliant real estate decision to move to OTR a week before the riots,” says Bernstein, whose family owns BB Riverboats, and he has since expanded Howl at the Moon to 18 locations nationally.

One of those locations was Orlando in 1992, where Bernstein met Mark Gibson, owner of Sloppy Joes.

“We became good friends and did a couple of things together,” says Bernstein. Their latest collaboration is a marriage of Howl’s high energy live music bar and Splitsville’s upscale bowling lanes featuring a menu of pizza, burgers and sushi started by Gibson and partner Guy Revelle.

About a year and a half ago they opened the first combined Howl/Splitsville at Patriot Place, an entertainment center outside the New England Patriot’s Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Bernstein says he has wanted to come back to Cincinnati for a long time but couldn’t find the right opportunity. When the Toby Keith’s location became available, his partners in the Patriot Place project though it would be a good site for the second Howl/Splitsville venue.

How does a live music club co-exist with eight bowling lanes? Quite well, says Bernstein.

“The music is a much bigger element of what we do at Howl,” he says. “The goal is to really get the audience out of their chairs and dancing and interacting with the music. The music is lively and it drowns out the noise from the bowling completely,” he says.

The mix of activities is the strength of the concept, Bernstein says. “The advantage is we get more utility out of the space and more attractions makes it more exciting.”

Howl/Splitsville is designed to appeal to a broad audience with music from the 1960s to today’s top hits, but Bernstein says the target market is young professionals.

“Those are the people going to clubs,” he says. Interestingly, he says, Howl’s audience is older early in the evening but gets younger—as does the music—as the night gets older.

The location downtown coupled with the variety of attractions also makes Howl/Splitsville great for business team-building events, Bernstein says.

“Big groups have a great time at our place because there’s so much activity,” he says. “They can bowl, enjoy the music and the food and beverages. Really the strength of the two concepts together is the team events, corporate events and social events. It’s just a great destination.”