By Aaron Gold | [email protected]
When people make fun of Brooklyn hipsters, one of the go-to things to cite (after craft beers, underground music, and ironic tattoos) would be axe-throwing bars. But there’s a very good, very deep reason why axe-throwing has become such a staple of the scene: It’s really, really fun.
Even the less violent of us can feel a rush of pride and adrenaline as a steel hatchet leaves your hands, rotates end over end, and finds purchase in a wooden target. It’s marksmanship to the level of lumberjack. It’s darts with bladed weapons. It’s a unique experience for anyone who doesn’t have a penchant for chopping firewood or acres of wooded land, but does have a bit of free time.
When approaching Kick Axe Throwing in Gowanus, you’re immediately greeted by a large statue of a bull. Because, why not? Once you get through the people who are taking their pictures beside it (don’t judge, you know you’ll be doing the same when you leave), you’re treated to a vibe that is clubhouse meets escape room. There is a nice lounge area with couches that are actually comfortable, alongside plenty of games like Jenga and beer pong. If you have to wait for your appointment, you will not be left bored, as there is plenty to fuel either your Instagram feeds or your desire for social connection.
The bar is not quite as well stocked as one might hope, but that’s understandable, considering the majority of the establishment’s patrons will be spending their evening chucking hatchets. Still, the beer selection has enough to appeal to both those looking for the classic cheap drinks, as well as those with a thirst for microbrews. A few canned cocktails and wines are also available for those with more discerning palettes, but the options there are limited.
The staff seems to genuinely enjoy working there, as everyone we interacted with was effortlessly charming and sociable. They welcome both newbies and seasoned axe throwers alike, embodying the aura of “Everyone’s here to have fun.” Once you’ve signed your safety waivers, you’re free to hang out at the bar or the aforementioned lounge while awaiting your turn at the lanes, each of which are notated by a different Harry Potter Hogwarts house.
Before you begin throwing, your attendant will walk you through the safety measures, complete with a few rounds of practice throws. Our attendant was very giving with the feedback, providing tons of positive encouragement and helpful tips without hovering. He had to attend to another lane at the same time, but was there with us for seemingly little over half of our stay. After he introduced us to the two people sharing our lane (who were a couple of friendly firefighters, so we knew we probably didn’t stand a chance) he introduced us to the first of our three games.
The entire experience truly felt like high stakes darts, and was a lot more accessible than one might think. For a feel of the way Brooklyn exists now, this was a terrific experience, and serves as a wonderful way to show out-of-towners a treat they are not likely to find outside of the city.