New & Noteworthy Axe Throwing Destinations in North America (2020 Update)
In case you hadn’t noticed, axe throwing is now officially a thing. When Forged opened its doors three 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 2020, 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 Making International News
Did you hear the news? Even in Ireland, the new lumberjack sport is making headlines. According to The Irish Times, “It’s cheaper than therapy.” We couldn’t agree more.
Just days into a new year and a new decade, there are several new axe throwing venues hosting their opening parties (just like we did so very long ago). We see Craft Axe Throwing in North Knoxville opening their doors. There are two brand new spaces in hucking axes in Machesney Park, Illinois, starting with Maximum Axe Throwing. Plus, don’t forget about Erie, Pennsylvania: Erie Axe Throwing!
These have all just started breaking in their boards in 2020. We can only imagine what the year, not to mention the decade, will bring!
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.
International Axe Throwing Federation
Set up by Matt Wilson in 2016, the National Axe Throwing Federation. Flash forward to 2020, its rebranded as the International Axe Throwing Federation. Today, they count more than 6,000 league members in over 100 cities and 6 countries within their ranks.
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.
IAF 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 IATF 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 IATF, the World Axe Throwing League was created with the goal of making axe throwing a legitimate, widely recognized sport.
We have International Axe Throwing Day because of the folks behind WATL. They started June 13 as a means to promote the sport to a broader audience, and get more people trying their hand at throwing metal at wood. They state, “This day is dedicated to those around the globe who share our passion for axe throwing.” Here! Here!
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.
Check it out:
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. According to CBS News, “Consumers spent more than $6 million on axe throwing experiences through Square sellers in 2019 — a 317% increase in sales compared to 2018.”
As the sport expands, we picked some of our favourite new axe throwing bars for you to check out on your travels:
Blade & Timber Axe Throwing
Blade & Timber Axe Throwing in Kansas City opened it’s doors in 2017 but has been putting smiles on it’s visitors since the very first day. Co-founders Matt Baysinger and Ryan Henrich, have created a unique interactive experience in Kansas city. Built on their 5-star venue in the original location, they’ve grown their little axe-throwing family to a total of six locations across the US.
Check out their original location in Kansas City to get down with some wholesome eats, including everyone’s famous burgers and waffles. Who can say no to a hearty meal before hucking some metal?
We love their approach to giving back to their guests and their community. Through their Axe of Love program they have provided free mulch (thanks to their target boards) for reforestation efforts. When they sell landscaping mulch, they donate a dollar of their proceeds to planting new trees. Good guys all around we’d say.
Bury The Hatchet
Bury the Hatchet is an axe throwing company with over 15 locations across the US. At every location, you are bound to hear that pleasing sound of metal sinking into wood. What’s not to like? They serve beer, they serve competition, and they serve an epic time out on the town.
Bury the Hatchet venues focus on the crowd as much as the axe thrower. They have great spaces for the commentators, including picnic tables and bar stands. Jeer, heckle, or support your favourite friend as they try to out throw the co-player. We love the interaction here.
One of their top rated location is in Brooklyn, New York. In the world of competitive sports, this location is instant street cred. We know how the big city brings out the edge when we go to visit, so can only imagine how it feels to release that pressure in the lanes of Bury the Hatchet Brooklyn. Hard day at work? Go throw a few rounds with some friends at Bury the Hatchet!
Rage Axe Throwing
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?