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Axe Throwing in the East Bay

Need to blow off steam this holiday season? Try your hand at the latest pub trend.


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AxeVentures provides coaching and blade-flinging games to play.

Photo courtesy of AxeVentures

Thanksgiving is almost upon us—a national occasion for jammed freeways, crowded airport checkpoints, and awkward conversations with kooky in-laws. Relaxing, right? To reduce your stress, you might make time for yoga, meditation, or the ancient, soothing practice of … tossing tomahawks. In a trend that marries the kickback rhythms of happy hour with the adrenaline rush of brandishing sharp objects, axe throwing is in. At a growing number of East Bay venues, operators are allowing—wait, no, encouraging—the recreational flinging of finely honed blades. Picture darts, as reimagined by the people behind Game of Thrones.

“Having a bad day?” reads the website for AxeVentures, a warehouse-chic redoubt just blocks from the UC Berkeley campus that calls to mind a bowling alley, except that the projectiles aren’t round. “Come and throw axes … and you’ll feel much better.”

Though AxeVentures does not serve food or drinks, you can bring your own. Or you could swing by Sauced BBQ and Spirits in Walnut Creek, where you can wash down brisket with craft beers and cocktails while making like a lumberjack in one of the eatery’s new axe-hurling lanes. Not to be outdone, Pleasanton city officials just green-lit plans for Limitless Axes and Ales, a 4,300-square-foot lounge at Valley Plaza that offers exactly what its name suggests. Children over age 10 will be welcome to throw axes, provided a parent or guardian is present, but—lest you mistake this for the Middle Ages—they’ll be out of luck on ale until they’re 21.

The mix of alcohol and axes does not come with a Surgeon General’s warning. But participants are required to sign a waiver and undergo a brief training session to pick up basic safety tips and techniques. As an additional precaution, throwing lanes are separated by metal grates or mesh curtains, reducing the odds of any Darwin Awards.

Like darts, axe throwing lends itself to myriad target games. Its target audience seems varied, too, ranging from birthday bashes and bachelor parties to corporate team-building and other group retreats. And don’t forget the family fun. Once the Thanksgiving table has been cleared and the dishes washed, you and your cranky relatives might head out for an evening of axe throwing. Consider it a chance to bury the hatchet, without the risk of drawing bad blood.

 

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