Beers and axes: a recipe for disaster or a brilliant business venture?
Urban Axes is betting on the latter. The Philadelphia-based company plans to open its third ax-throwing facility — with a bar serving beer and wine — in a Highlandtown warehouse at 1 N. Haven St. next year.
"Totally agree it sounds dangerous," said Krista Poll, one of the company's four co-founders. "Once you do it, you realize it's not that dangerous."
Dangerous or not, competitive and recreational ax-throwing is gaining popularity in the United States.
A concept that originated in Canada, ax-throwing facilities are popping up in cities like Pittsburgh, Denver and Chicago. And the National Axe Throwing Federation, founded in 2016, now boasts 2,200 league members in 31 cities and four countries.
A founding member of the national federation, Urban Axes is growing quickly. It opened its flagship Philadelphia facility in 2016, recently expanded to Austin, Texas, and has plans to open in at least eight more cities in the coming year.
Baltimore seemed like a natural fit for ax-throwing, said co-founder Krista Poll.
"It's a city with an ax to grind," Poll said.
The 10,000-square-foot Baltimore facility will have six throwing areas, similar to batting cages, with a painted wood target at the end of each 14-foot-long aisle.
Groups will be able to sign up for 2½-hour sessions, where they learn how to throw properly and take turns tossing 14-inch hatchets under an instructors' supervision.