Looking for a novel date night? How about ax throwing? You heard that right. A new Brooklyn club called Kick Axe Throwing is dedicated to the sport—if you can call it that—a pastime popular enough that locations are coming to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Orlando, Los Angeles and Seattle. And, with children as young as eight allowed to throw, it seems only a matter of time until it becomes a venue for kids birthday parties.
Think of it as darts with hatchets—and booze. The club provides ax throwing ranges—cages might be more accurate—with two large wooden bullseyes per range. For $35 a 75-minute session (beer and wine is extra) you and your friends can work out your primal need to throw sharp objects at defenseless targets.
Groups of eight or more get their own range. Our party of three threw with two couples we didn’t know in advance. But throwing axes has a way of developing community quickly and there was an unmistakable “bro-y” vibe to the festivities. Which is not to say that women don’t get into the ax-throwing spirit. There were plenty the night we went.
A session goes something like this: You’re divided into teams and asked to come up with names. We chose “Splitting Hairs,” our opponents, “Axcellent.” We also thought of “Axcident” but that might have been cutting too close to the bone. Two players are invited onto the range where your “axpert” gives you a quick tutorial on ax throwing. Feet planted, you grip the ax firmly with two hands, raise your arms over and behind your head, aim and throw. There are several fun games, but it’s challenging enough just to get the weapon to stick to the wall—and not the ceiling. It’s all about technique rather than strength.
Because beer and axes sound like a recipe for disaster, the axperts take safety seriously. They reserve the right to stop you from throwing if you seem intoxicated or throwing in an unsafe manner. Additional precautions include no open-toed shoes, only entering the range when invited, never handing off an ax (each range comes with its own rustic stump where you’re supposed to place the supplied tool after your turn) and—who needs to be told this?—never trying to catch an ax.
Once we felt comfortable enough throwing our axes—comfort is a relative term when it comes to wielding an implement sometimes used as a plot device in horror films—our axpert showed us how to toss with one hand. But he demurred on showing us how to throw behind our backs—as he has mastered.
While I’d be lying if I said I felt more accomplished by the end of our session, some satisfaction came in removing ax throwing from my bucket list.