Tag Archives: Parent Night Out

T(w)een Scene (or KidFree!): Wield Some Fun at Bad Axe Throwing

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.

Bad Axe Throwing is located at 2419 Evarts St NE. Hours are 8am- 11pm, by appointment. Walk-in hours vary by week, so check the schedule before you go.

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Filed under Birthday Parties, Date Night, DC, Parents, Weekdays, Weekend

KidFree: Surprise, Secret Music Events with Sofar Sounds

Local bluegrass band By & By performs for Sofar Sounds

Local bluegrass band By & By performs for Sofar Sounds

In case my blog doesn’t make it obvious, I love discovering new adventures and having different kinds of experiences, both with my kids and without. I value my “grown-up” time, whether it’s a night out with my husband or friends, a daytime venture, or just doing something for myself. Having some time sans kids is important for my sanity life balance. I know this is a sentiment echoed by many parents, so I thought I’d put this all together and, every now and then, share some ideas for those “KidFree” occasions. And I’m starting with one of the cooler things I’ve recently experienced: Sofar Sounds.


So, it’s a random Thursday evening, and I’m hanging out at a nondescript row house in the heart of Petworth with a roomful of people I have never met before watching some local bands play. (You know, a typical Thursday night for a mom of two elementary school-aged kids.) And while I’m there for the concert, I didn’t know who would be playing until I arrived at the house. Even more, I didn’t know exactly where it would take place until the day prior.

Broke Royals kick off the concert with a 4-song set

Broke Royals kick off the concert with a 4-song set

What I did know beforehand was that Sofar Sounds, the global music series producing the concert, was right up my alley. When I received an invitation to attend, I learned that Sofar (which stands for ‘Songs from a Room’) creates unique live music experiences through secret shows hosted in intimate spaces. I love live music in small settings as much as I enjoy new, unique adventures. I also really like neat surprises. So, I RSVP’ed a zealous “hellz yeah!” (well, not really, but I was excited), worked out a date to go, then waited over a week for the rest of the details.


Guests and band members hang out before the show

That’s not normally how it all works, however. Sofar Sounds hosts these music events in over 250 cities around the world. If you want to attend one in DC or elsewhere, you can see dates and areas of upcoming shows, then you have a couple of options: You can buy a ticket to guarantee entry in many locations or you can apply for a free ticket (though how guests are selected, I’m not sure).

So, the day before my show, I receive an email with an address, arrival time, and a heads-up that the event is BYO and that we’d likely be sitting on the floor in case I want to bring a pillow or something for comfort. I still have no clue what to expect music-wise.


The next day, a friend and I Uber to the address, which turned out to be said rowhouse in Petworth. A Sofar rep greets us and gives us the lowdown on the show. A sign hanging by the door lets us know that By and By, Be Steadwell, and Broke Royals would be the artists performing. I hadn’t heard of any of them, but that’s all part of the adventure — discovering new music. So, we pour our wine (we brought our own cups, too) and take it out on the back deck where other concert-goers and band members are hanging out. People are mingling, and we chat a bit with the Broke Royals lead singer about his day job at the Apple Store.

Sofar Sounds gigs aren’t always hosted at a house. The location might be a warehouse, store, pop-up space, office, theater, even a museum. And a cool thing regarding the venue is that anyone can apply to host it — yes, you could potentially have a concert in your living room (or basement or bedroom) with a random group of people you don’t know in the audience.

Be Steadwell mesmerizes the audience

Be Steadwell mesmerizes the audience

After about 20 minutes, the show is ready to begin, and we all gather in the living room, some people on sofas, most on the floor, others standing along the wall. Everyone is there to enjoy the music, and the rule is no texting, talking, or filming (ok, so I broke it, but I was there as “media” and, hopefully, low-key about it).

I don’t know if we got lucky, or if they always get good acts, but all of the performances were fantastic — and all so different. Broke Royals played acoustic versions of their alternative rock songs, encouraging audience interaction as we sang parts of the chorus. The super talented Be Steadwell described her unique sound as queer pop. And By and By closed it out with a fun set of jubilant bluegrass. It was great entertainment, and something about being in that intimate space under those “secret” circumstances added a bit of enchantment to the whole experience.

The concert ends and we hang out a little while longer, talking with other guests on the front porch before heading home. I’m back at my house before 11 — the concert started a bit after 8 — in time for a good night’s sleep, with new tunes playing in my head and grand ideas of hosting a Sofar gig at my house.

Ready for a KidFree evening with Sofar Sounds? Visit the website to read more about their mission, and check out upcoming concert dates in DC.


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Filed under Date Night, DC, Live Entertainment, Parents, Weekdays, Weekend