The watchful eye ever-present on our southern border has led to a lack of supervision and subsequent breach in the border between the United States and Canada. This breach has allowed a Canadian pastime to make its way to the states and emerge in the form of a new American phenomenon: axe-throwing bars.
Axe-throwing bars first emerged in Toronto in 2011. They have now spread throughout most of the 50 states including Nebraska. Lincolnites can now visit Tomahawks, an axe-throwing bar that opened this last November or Craft Axe Throwing which opened in December.
Bars like Tomahawks are in high demand simply because they ensure a fun night for their patrons. Axe-throwing bars are an escape from the busy, technologically advanced society we live in, as the simple act of throwing an axe at a target runs contrary to the advanced technology that drives our society. It’s all about getting back to the basics through an organic medium instead of escaping to a digital destination through virtual reality. Axe-throwing bars also bring people together through unconventional means. Even the most adamant thrill-seekers likely never thought they’d see the day where competitive bowling leagues would be taken over by competitive axe-throwing leagues.
The amount of axe-throwing bars in the United States is growing rapidly. Lincoln alone opened two axe bars in 2018, meanwhile states like New York have over five locations for axe throwing. This growth in the prevalence of such bars shows a desire for Americans to escape the realities of the world through less traditional means rather than watching a movie or simply going on one’s phone. Patrons of axe-throwing bars are looking for a fun new way to transport themselves away from the mundanity of life. In a world where so much pressure is put on being successful, climbing the social ladder and fighting identity politics, axe-throwing bars are an escape from it all.
Axe-throwing bars are a safe haven from the toxicity of everyday life. The American people’s catharsis is getting out their aggression through any means possible. What better way to relieve stress and take out rage, frustration and angst than hurtling an axe through the air and making perfect contact with a wooden target?
Slinging axes at targets all while drinking with friends may seem like a short and simple recipe for disaster. However, digging deeper than the surface of what an axe-throwing bar appears to be shows they are actually quite safe.
The bars own the equipment used to ensure the axes meet certain safety criteria. Most axe-throwing bars also have a limit on how many drinks a patron can have per hour as well as protocol prohibiting people from throwing axes when they have had more than a few drinks. With all of these safety measures cutting down on injuries, the starter of the axe-throwing bar movement in Toronto has only had five or six minor injuries in its nine-year history, and all of the injuries were a result of handling the axes versus throwing them.
So, despite their seemingly dangerous nature, the bars are as safe as they are unconventional.
Axe throwing and drinking mixed together is an unusual combination that sparks curiosity. In a desire to quench this curiosity, patrons of axe-throwing bars drag their friends and family along with them to places like Tomahawks in Lincoln.
Like most social events, axe-throwing bars are another way to bring everyone together, even if it’s in the most unconventional way possible.
These venues create stories in a way regular bars can’t. Everyone will remember when grandpa tried to throw an axe and miserably failed. Everyone has the cliche stories of meeting their significant other at a bar, but very few can say they had an axe in their hand when it happened. Unusual and quirky, axe-throwing bars find a way to simultaneously spark our curiosity and create fond memories.
These bars are meant to bring people together and escape reality even if it’s just for a few hours. But in those few hours, patrons will be able to look back on a movement started by Canadians, brought to America and enjoyed by everyone present.
There was a time for darts and a time for billiards. Now is the time for axe throwing. Americans have an axe to grind with the world and only sharp objects and craft beer can help us.