New and Noteworthy Axe Throwing Destinations in Canada and the USA
In case you hadn’t noticed, axe throwing is now officially a thing. When Forged opened its doors two years ago, plenty of people looked at us as if we were mad. And we’ll admit that while we knew we loved throwing axes, would the world also love it? But fast forward to 2019, and we’re stoked that the rest of planet is catching up to us. These days, axe throwing bars are cropping up all over the world.
From its humble lumberjack beginnings, indoor axe throwing is fast becoming a very popular way to spend a night out. And with good reason. Whether it’s a bachelor party, family outing or a first Tinder date, the combination of good ol’ fashioned competition with the satisfying thunk of an axe into wood is always a winner. Plus, it helps that pretty much anyone can be great at it – from your 10-year old cousin to your grandad.
That’s probably why axe throwing has exploded over the border in the U.S. of A.. It seems like our neighbours to the south have finally noticed that Canada is full of great ideas (and great beards, and great fashion). Axe throwing bars are fast colonizing all those trendy East Coast towns where hipsters hang out: Austin, Philadelphia, Brooklyn. Spending an evening throwing axes and drinking craft beers is no longer the reserve of woodsmen in cabins in the forest. It’s for everyone, from Toronto to Sydney.
Axe Throwing Leagues
People have been throwing axes since…well since axes were invented. Who wouldn’t want to pick one up and see what happened if you hurled it at a tree? But as a sport, axe throwing is a pretty new invention. For a while, there were axe throwing locations scattered around Canada, each coming up with their own rule and games. But as the sport became more popular, axe throwers started to notice each other. And very quickly, axe throwing morphed into something a bit more serious. Well, as serious as grown men and women throwing metal things at wooden things can be. There are now two major axe throwing leagues, and nearly all axe throwing venues are a member of one of the other.
National Axe Throwing Federation
Set up by Matt Wilson in 2016, the National Axe Throwing Federation now boasts members in 60 cities and 7 different countries. You could call Wilson the grandfather of axe throwing: he set up the Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL) way back in 2006 when we were still only throwing axes when our parents weren’t looking. As BATL expanded, and more and more axe throwing bars appeared on the scene, Wilson decided to bring them all together. He created the NATF to help organize competitions, bring axe throwers together and promote axe throwing to the world. Standardized rules and competition formats were created: there are even rules about exactly how long your hatchet has to be.
NATF also host the National Axe Throwing Championships, offering $25,000 in prize money and live streaming. Not bad considering 10 years ago Wilson was literally throwing axes in his back yard. Now, the NATF dream of making axe throwing a true professional sport, with bigger prizes, more spectators and competitions all over the world.
World Axe Throwing League
Like the NATF, the World Axe Throwing League was created with the goal of making axe throwing a legitimate, widely recognized sport. With a big focus on bringing together as many axe throwing venues as possible, WATL hosted the first ever World Axe Throwing Championship in 2018. Hosted at Bad Axe Throwing in Chicago, the tournament featured some of the best axe throwers in the world and was even shown on ESPN.
WATL help new axe throwing leagues get started and run their own official leagues, providing plenty of help and information for anyone just getting started in the sport. If you’re looking to join an axe throwing league as a thrower, you can inquire on their website and you’ll get information about axe throwing leagues near you. In their quest to make the world fall in love with axe throwing, they’ve even created International Axe Throwing Day. It’s 13th June, by the way – we’ll see you here at Forged to hurl some axes in celebration.
New & Noteworthy Axe Throwing Locations
If you’re intrigued by the new sport of indoor axe throwing, you’ll be sure to find an axe throwing bar near you soon. But in the meantime, we picked some of favourite fun new axe throwing bars for you to check out on your travels.
Out on wild, wet and windy Eastern-most corner of Canada, two cousins are bringing axe throwing to the masses. Their trendy downtown Jack Axes axe throwing bar in St. John’s gets rave reviews for its friendly staff and excellent craft beer selection. Plus, Jack Axes’ fans include no other than Jason Momoa, the larger-than-life, bear-like actor who played Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, and more recently Aquaman. From what we hear, he has excellent taste in holiday activities – he was recently spotted spending New Year ripping up the slopes in Whistler.
Axe throwing at Jack Axes is a bargain too – it’s only $19.95 per person for an hour, including instruction and as many throws as you’d like. And you can even bring your beer into the lane with you! They do welcome kids too, with family-friendly lanes outside the bar area. Jack Axes also run an eight-week league for budding axe throwing champions, for only $109.95 per person.
View this post on Instagram
It's #StaffSaturday and this week we're featuring Daniel M. from Urban Axes Austin, better known as ✨Handsome Dan.✨😎 . Given the nickname "Handsome Dan," by his axe throwing league, Dan has been coaching at Urban Axes since January 2018. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas film program, and often produces and directs music videos for Austin bands as a side business. . Handsome Dan is a man of many talents, tastes, and titles. He's a certified stunt driver, tea connoisseur, actual Scottish Laird (technically speaking), sometimes world traveler, and novice hammered dulcimer player. . . . . . . . #urbanaxes #urbanaxesaustin #axethrowing #axethrow #throwingaxe #axethrower #indooraxethrowing #urbanaxethrowing #axelife #ladyblades #axejunkies #NATC #NATF #awesomeaustin #austintx #austintxlife #visitaustin #axelife #urbanaxethrowing #austinblogger #austinstyle #austinevents #ATX
Proud to be bringing the traditionally outdoorsy sport of axe throwing to the city, Urban Axes are taking the east coast by storm. They now have locations in no less than six cities: you can go axe throwing in Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Durham and Cinncinatti. They’re determined to make axe throwing accessible to anyone, and offer walk-ins, group bookings, corporate events and leagues too.
Urban Axes is the most fun in a big group – they’ll fit up to 24 people for 2.5 hours for only $38 per person. All the locations are age 21+, so this one isn’t for the family. But they do all have a bar, or are BYOB with fridges to keep your beers cool while you work up a sweat on the axe throwing range. They also run a NATF-affiliated league, so you can work your way to the National Axe Throwing Championship.
Bury the Hatchet
Another indoor axe throwing bar that’s taking over the world, Bury the Hatchet want to make axe throwing a fun, sociable activity that’s open to everyone. From Atlanta to Brookyln, they’re introducing hundreds of people to axe throwing every day. Their venues are big, fun and friendly, and their Axe Masters really know their stuff. They’ll get you throwing like a pro in no time, and you’ll have plenty of time in a 2-hour session to master the sport.
Bury the Hatchet run WATL leagues at all of their 11 venues, with up to 40 people per league. You get a chance to practice for free throughout the season, but more importantly, you get to meet tons of other awesome axe loving people. Bury the Hatchet is roughly $100-150 for a league season, depending on where you are, and $39.99 for a 2-hour drop-in session.
Bullseye Axe Throwing
Back north of the border, Bullseye offers axe throwing in Ontario: Barrie and Newmarket to be precise. Axe throwing here is casual, relaxed and authentic, with real wooden log targets and an “everyone’s welcome” attitude. While kids need to be at least 11 to play, anyone can come along and watch. Plus, they’ll let you bring your own food and drink in, so you can settle in for the night and really start scoring those bullseyes.
As well as sessions for groups of six or more, Bullseye run an NATF seven-week league that’s open to anyone (and newcomers are encouraged!). They also put on some awesome mobile events, from axe throwing trailers to target ranges that remind us of something from Robin Hood!
Portland Axe Throwing
View this post on Instagram
It’s the Portland Axe Throwing “Wednesday Feckin Axe League night”. Come out and compete for glory in single and double elimination bracket play! Open to all who want to take their game to the next level or who want to spectate some epic matches! Walk in shared lane axe throwing from 4-7:30pm. $5 bucks gets you trained and a guaranteed 10 throws. 7:30-9pm match play. Sign up for match play at the cage to get your name on the bracket and compete! #axethrowing #portlandaxethrowing #feckinirishbrewingco #feckinaxeleague
Axe throwing is catching on here on the west coast too. Portland Axe Throwing has been in the game since 2015, making them almost ancient in axe throwing terms. In that time, In keeping with the hippie vibes of Portland, their mobile axe throwing trailer floats around the city. It can often be found at Cider Riot, a vegan cidery with a dazzling array of local ciders to pair with your hatchet. There’s also now a permanent installation of Portland Axe Throwing at the beautiful StormBreaker Brewing, so if cider’s not your thing, you can grab a delicious IPA instead.
Basically, these guys get it: axe throwing + friends + drinks = a very good time.
It’s only $25 for per person for a 2-hour game. And with a minimum of 5 people, you’d better bring your friends along and introduce them to the joys of chucking sharp metal objects across a room. Their guides will bring people together with loads of fun games, tournaments and encouragement. And for bigger groups, the winner even gets to take home their very own hatchet!
Axe Throwing Bars: The Next Best Night Out?
We’ve always known that axe throwing is great: it’s fun, it’s satisfying and it’s sociable. So we’re excited that the world is finally catching up to us! With so many great axe throwing locations to try out, it would be rude not to give it a try. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you at the world championships in a few years’ time?