As Urban Axes' website likes to point out, the sport of axe throwing was "invented about five minutes after the first axe was created." Sure, no one can confirm that, but c'mon... you know it's 100% true.
Why? Because throwing axes is fun. There's just something about one-handing a 1.5-lb hatchet, drawing it back over your head, squinting at the target at the end of a lane, and chucking it with all your might. When you wedge it into the wood, it's satisfying. When you stick the bullseye, it's borderline euphoric. When it bounces off and lands on the floor, all you want to do is try it again as fast as possible.
I don't know, maybe it's in our blood? Maybe it's an innate impulse that harkens back to when humans hunted wildlife with tools? Whatever it is, you can experience it in Over-the-Rhine now.
"Everyone loves axe throwing, they just don’t know it yet," says Urban Axes owner Krista Paton.
Urban Axes officially opened its sixth US location just north of Rhinegeist Brewery in January. Paton opened the first location in Philadelphia after a visit to an axe throwing joint in Toronto. Locations in Boston, Durham, Austin, and Baltimore followed.
Opening one in Cincinnati was always a goal, though. An ex-P&Ger and former resident of OTR, Paton's love of the neighborhood brought her and her axes back to the Queen City.
"I loved living here, most of my closest friends live here—it’s as close to a 'home' as I feel like I’ve had over the years. ... From the minute we decided to expand Urban Axes out of Philly, I’ve wanted to open in OTR," she says.
BEWARE OF MARTHA FROM ACCOUNTING
Paton says you don't have to be strong or athletic to be a great axe thrower.
"It’s great when an office party comes in and the older woman from accounting (they’re always from accounting!) who didn’t want to play and was talked into it, wins!" She says.
As a non-athletic, uncoordinated person myself, it's true. During my first session, I averaged a little above a 50% success rate (if success is measured by simply sticking it into the wall). Most days I trip over curbs Downtown for no reason; it's embarrassing to admit, but I might be better at throwing axes than walking. That's how easy it is to do.
However, that doesn't necessarily mean everyone nails the bullseye each time. While instructors step up to give you tips on how to bury the hatchet, it's still a challenge to land it where you want. Add beer from the bar in the back of the building, and you've added all new levels of chaotic uncertainty to your throw.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Think you might be secretly excellent at axe throwing? Here's a breakdown of what you need to know:
- Walk-ins are usually fine, but you'll want to book ahead of time on the Urban Axes site if you're going with a group.
- It's $35 per person for 2.5 hours if you do a group of 6 or more (up to 25).
- A deposit is required to book ahead of time.
- Wear a proper shoe and not a flip-flip, bro.
- Coaches are there to show you how to throw.
- There are throwing leagues you can join if you love it (imagine a bowling league, but more metal).
- It's open 6 days a week (closed Mondays).
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Check out the gallery above for photos of Urban Axes, and schedule your next night out by visiting their website. It's located at 2010 Elm Street (45202).