Food & Drink

Coming soon to Lexington entertainment: Throwing axes. With beer.

Cutting edge entertainment will be coming to the Distillery District when Battle Axes, an axe or hatchet-throwing venue opens this summer in the old Pepper Distillery rickhouse at 1170 Manchester.
Cutting edge entertainment will be coming to the Distillery District when Battle Axes, an axe or hatchet-throwing venue opens this summer in the old Pepper Distillery rickhouse at 1170 Manchester.

Blame it on the Canadians, who apparently thought this up: Thanks to the popularity of throwing axes at stuff, Lexington is getting its first venue where customers can go "head to head" in hatchet throwing competitions.

Battle Axes will open in the warehouse on the Pepper Distillery campus this summer and serve beer, because nothing works up a thirst like heaving sharp objects at stuff.

battle axes logo.jpg
Coming soon: Lexington's first axe-throwing venue. Battle Axes/Facebook

Greg Stewart, who is one of the co-owners, said that Battle Axes is modeled on the venues that he and his partners have seen in other cities.

"It’s big in Canada," Stewart said. "It's just now filtering through the U.S. We've been thinking about it … literally tossing the idea around … And we were finally in a place to do something a little special."

Cutting edge stuff, you might say.

Axe or hatchet-throwing bars are one of the hottest trends around, with venues already in Covington and Louisville. There are even chains. And there are two national organizations, as well as international competitions.

Stewart, who is an engineer at Toyota, and his wife, Rachel, and friends Shawn and Mary Courtney hope to open the venue in July and expect to be the first tenants in the renovated rickhouse. Battle Axes will be open daily, with day hours for corporate events and office lunches as well as evening hours.

The concept is simple, Stewart said: It's a head-to-head competition, with up to eight players on teams.

You are throwing a 14-inch hatchet, with sharpened 4-inch blade, at a target about 14 feet away. The closer you are to the bull's eye, the more points you get. After a few rounds, highest score wins.

"It’s kind of like darts, except a lot bigger dart," he said.

The James E. Pepper Distillery is now producing bourbon nearly 60 years after being abandoned.

They provide the hatchets, which are standard hardware store variety, and the targets.

And there is training "for how to throw it as well as safety protocols to ensure everyone has fun," Stewart said. "Because we are combining beer and hatchets."

Another thing they will provide: First aid stations at every throwing pit. Just, you know, in case.

"We don’t just give you an ax and say 'here, go do this.' There are ‘pit bosses’ who are with you the entire time you are there," Stewart said. "It is fun. This is not a manly thing, not just a bunch of lumberjacks out there hurling axes. It’s all about the motion."

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