Axe-ing for trouble: Boozy hatchet-hurling range to open in Gowanus

Axe-ing for trouble: Boozy hatchet-hurling range to open in Gowanus
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

This place is literally Kick Axe!

Hurl a hatchet into a wooden bullseye at the city’s first-ever axe throwing range — Kick Axe — in Gowanus, when it opens its doors on Dec. 15. The Pennsylvania-based owners gave the unconventional sport a try in their hometown, and knew it would be the perfect ax-perimental entertainment addition to hip Brooklyn, said Ginger Flesher-Sonnier, who co-owns the Degraw Street lodge with her husband, along with another soon-to-open range in Washington, DC, and multiple escape rooms.

“We thought it would be awesome. I fell in love with axe throwing and thought it would be an incredible experience for others to have,” she said. “We’re into the experimental entertainment, we own escape rooms in D.C., we thought this would fit in.”

Kick Axe is the first axe-throwing range in the five boroughs, but interest in the cutting-edge sport is definitely growing, and everyone should take a stab at it, said Flesher-Sonnier.

“We’re very excited about being first,” she said. “We hope it will be well received.”

The Degraw Street range boasts a cozy lumberjack feel, with fur rugs, pillow-stuffed couches, and a warm fire blazing behind glass near the bar — that’s right, there is a bar! So before you experience the fun of throwing a bladed weapon through the air, you can calm your nerves by downing some beer, wine, or malt beverages.

The lodge is also stocked with flannel shirts and faux axes you can grab while posing inside its photo-booth. The real choppers have to stay on the throwing range, but the props are perfect for sharing on all your social media platforms, said Flesher-Sonnier.

“We’re kind of going for the urban lumberjack theme,” she said. “The decor is a lodge.”

On point: This reporter hit the bullseye after only a few tries.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

Guests pay $35 to use one of the 10 ranges, and get their own personal ax-pert — a trained expert axe thrower — who first explains all of the safety rules and protocols before anyone is allowed to enter the range and pick up the hatchet.

Lone wolves, pairs of two, and larger parties are all welcome, but only two throwers and their guide are allowed inside the range at a time, according to ax-pert Allison Grosso, Flesher-Sonnier’s daughter.

Axe throwing is more about momentum than it is about strength, said Grosso, so even those with noodle arms can give it whirl.

And if this not-very-muscular reporter — who prefers to slice with words rather than weapons — could satisfyingly sink the sharp blade right into the red circle in the center of a fir tree plank, then anyone can. After a quick lesson — and just a few unsuccessful throws that landed first on the ground, and then along the outer rings — bullseye!

All axe throwers must sign a waiver before entering the range, and must imbibe responsibly if they visit the bar, said Flesher-Sonnier.

“We will be very careful in how we monitor consumption,” she said. “Anybody who appears to be intoxicated or throwing unsafely will not be able to continue.”

Kick Axe [622 Degraw St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (833) 542–5293, www.kickaxe.com]. Opens Dec. 15. $35.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
So axe-citing!: A few of the 10 ranges at Kick Axe.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell