December 20, 2018 / SUN SENTINEL / Southflorida.com / Phillip Valys
Bury the hatchet: Extreme Axe Throwing takes aim at downtown Hollywood
The sharp pastime of marrying alcohol and axes has arrived in Hollywood with Extreme Axe Throwing, Broward’s first ax-throwing bar.
The ax-throwing bar opened Dec. 17, occupying a storefront on the western edge of Hollywood’s downtown drag, but the indoor range already seems to have stuck with weapon-happy locals. Some 200 visitors have already hurled axes since Monday, and owners expect the weekend before Christmas should be bustling, says Jennifer Nesselhaus, the bar’s operations manager.
Jennifer Nesselhaus: “It’s been crazy so far, and people can’t seem to get enough. It’s like darts on steroids. I feel like downtown Hollywood hasn’t had this much excitement in years.” (She should try Mickey Byrne’s on a rowdy weekend.)
The 1,700-square-foot indoor range comes from Parkland brothers Alex and Vlad Maslinkovsky, who own the bar with Vlad Jr., Alex’s nephew, and their friend Evgeny Alexeev. To play, visitors take turns chucking lightweight axes at wooden targets in six lanes, which resemble fenced-in batting cages.
If ax-throwing bars seem unusual in a region without lumberjacks, Nesselhaus says she’s not surprised by Extreme Axe Throwing’s early popularity. Throwing ranges, which first gained popularity in Canada, Seattle and New York, have fast become hipper versions of bowling alleys, offering ax-throwing leagues and round-robin-style tournaments. One ax-throwing league, the National Axe Federation, estimates that participants have hurled some 20 million axes to date.
In early 2019, more ax-throwing bars will take aim at South Florida, opening in Fort Lauderdale (Chops and Hops Axe Throwing Lodge), Pompano Beach (Axe Throwing Society) and Boynton Beach (Game of Axes). A Miami location of Extreme Axe Throwing (540 N. Miami Ave., Second Floor, Miami), where wine and beer are also allowed, opened in November.
One ax-throwing session costs $35 and lasts 90 minutes ($25 for 14 and older with adult supervision), and, of course, visitors must sign waivers before burying the hatchet. First-timers will be paired with the bars’ so-called “axeperts,” who will teach throwing tips to best sink a bulls-eye. Three of the targets are programmed with four interactive games, ranging from Candy Crush-style matches to Lucky 27, an accuracy game where players throw at miniature targets.
Unlike their Miami venue, Extreme Axe Throwing won’t serve alcohol to start, but patrons can BYO craft beer and wine (but no liquor), Nesselhaus says. Plan to stumble in from another bar on Hollywood Boulevard? Walk-ins who “look inebriated” are turned away, she says. Visitors who bring six-packs must wear red wristbands, which limits them to one drink before throwing.
“We don’t want any accidents, so if we see you’re visibly intoxicated, we’ll ask you to come back at a later time.” says Nesselhaus, who operates a next-door escape room, Hollywood’s Boxroom Escape Games, that will be paired with certain ax-throwing packages. “The idea is to make sure people have a fun, safe time.”