See you later, cozy cat cafes. It’s 2018, we’re going to the bar, and we’re hurling axes.
The website eater.com made that point as it dissected the recent phenomenon of ax-throwing bars, which seem to be popping up across the country as one of the latest trends in themed drinking and entertainment establishments.
Oh, and before we dive in, get this: One of these ax-throwing bars in Michigan was recently deemed “unsafe,” and had its liquor license suspended for a day. Because … yes. Isn’t an ax-throwing bar, by definition, technically “unsafe”?
Actually, it seems, the answer is yes and no.
Yes, axes can be unsafe. But the Backyard Axe Throwing League, which started in Canada and then expanded to add the National Axe Throwing Federation — and they kind of oversee and set the framework for most of these ax-throwing establishments — reported just five or six minor injuries in its nine-year history, according to that article linked above from Eater.
Most of those injuries came from people who were picking up the ax by its head instead of the handle. So it’s not as if we’re talking about anything life-threatening.
And in the case of the aforementioned Metro Detroit bar that had its license suspended, the situation was this: Investigators with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission visited the warehouse-style bar and determined that “drinking alcohol while throwing axes, ax-throwers wearing open-toed shoes, a lack of monitoring by bar management and axes ricocheting off targets in the direction of participants,” were all issues that needed to be addressed.
The suspension was intended to force the bar’s hand in developing new safety procedures, published reports indicated.
So, what else is there to know about this growing trend?
The ax-throwing fad actually comes from Canada. And the NATF holds a championship each year with standardized rules and regulations. It’s very competitive and official.
Eater said the activity in a bar setting is kind of like darts: You can make it as competitive or non-competitive as you’d like. And all of these venues have experts on hand to teach people how to throw — it’s not as if you’re handed an ax and told to figure it out on your own.
It seems as though anyone can be taught to throw. There are several ways you can go about it, experts say.
At some of these establishments, they’ll allow teens — or in rare cases, children — but those require strict adult supervision (which makes sense). Most places, especially the bars, for obvious reasons, are for people ages 21 and older.
And you can’t get too drunk — at least, these venues don’t want you to, again, for reasons you can understand, considering the main attraction: axes.
Some places have limits on how many beverages you can buy in an hour, and others don’t sell hard liquor at all. The establishments have very close supervision as well, Eater said.
It all lines up, considering that at the end of the day, it’s like darts, but axes are a little bigger than darts, you know?
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