Upon first consideration, giving a group of 12-year-old boys a bunch of axes to throw for fun might sound like a pretty crazy idea. But at a recent birthday party at Bad Axe Throwing, a newish venue that offers opportunities to — you guessed it! — throw axes at targets, it was actually really great.
I first heard about Bad Axe Throwing last spring when a friend told me she’d attended an adult birthday celebration at the venue in northeast DC. Until then, I’d only seen the sport in action at Ren Fest, so of course I was immediately intrigued (because, Ren Fest). However, I didn’t try it myself until a few weeks ago when Owen attended a friend’s birthday party there. His mom (my friend, Torey) invited a few parents to join them for some target practice, too.
The facility where it takes place is fairly bare bones. It looks like an old warehouse or garage with two cavernous rooms with a few axe throwing “cages” on one side and, on the other, some tables and stools where guests can hang out, eat, and drink (all BYO) while they wait their turns to throw. Chain link fencing separates each cage, and plywood goes halfway up the target wall. Two targets hang side by side in each cage, and cork board and rubber matting line the floor in front of them. Concrete blocks or wooden stands about 10 feet back from the wall hold the axes right about where throwers stand.
The session begins with a short overview of the rules and a quick lesson on how to throw. The kids started things off, and after a few thunks against the boards and axes landing on the ground, they started to get in a groove, and the axes began to stick. We adults joined in soon after, and while it took me a couple of turns to really get it, once I did it was quite satisfying to hear that sharp “whomp” and see the hatchet buried in the wood as it hit the target.
After we’d all had some practice rounds, we played a few team games — mostly kids versus adults — similar to cricket, the popular darts game. (Happy to report we old folks beat the youngins! 🙂 ). There were also some one-on-one games, too, as players tried to reach a total score first by hitting rungs on the target with designated point values.
All in all, this was a really good time for all — a great tween birthday party, plus a fun and unique activity for the adults. And you don’t necessarily have to be with a big group to go. While we did see mostly larger parties there, walk-ins are welcome, too. As for ages, I did see some younger kids there with a family group, but I would probably recommend the activity for middle school ages and up.
Rates for groups vary: The Corporate rate is $35/person (minimum of 35) and includes two coaches and four targets for 2.5 hours. The Bad Axe Package is $44.25/person* (minimum of 6) and includes one coach and two targets. Walk-ins are $20/hour. *There is a HEROES rate for Firefighters, Nurses, EMT, Paramedics, Police Officers & Military — they can get the lowest rate of $35/person.