Brooklyn’s Finest Axe-Throwing Showdown

All photos by Andrea Bullock

You can turn anything crazy or off-the-wall into a competition. So, why wouldn’t whirling axes toward a target be an international sport? The thrill-seeking sport, which started in Canada, has now captured the fascination of Brooklynites. Axe-throwing is such an unexpected activity to do in Brooklyn and rivals popular social scenes like bowling and going to the movies. Word-of-mouth has done wonders to create awareness and increases business for the only axe-throwing locations in the borough: Bury the Hatchet and Kick Axe. Both exude ‘fun’ from the start. In fact, many of the proficient Axe Masters explain the rules like carnival barkers (very amusing) amidst the continuous stream of metal clanking on wood.

Each location has unique qualities, but fits different personalities. This begs the question, “Which should I visit?” Instead of making any hasty decisions, here is a comparison of both destinations based on: price; session length; age requirements; staff knowledge; drinks and treats  and overall experience. Also, a ‘fun factor’ score is given for each place based on a scale of one through five. Either way, both locations deliver a stellar, unforgettable experience letting your inner Game of Thrones character come alive!

Bury the Hatchet – November 2019

A playlist with of Guns N’ Roses and other classic rock hits, paired with blades splintering wooden boards, fills the sound space at Bury the Hatchet, Greenpoint’s axe-adventure destination. Groups, small and large are staggered throughout the large warehouse with lofty ceilings and towering walls. Each session starts with a brief, training given by an ‘Axe-pert’. All are extremely knowledgeable, and ready to provide the most rewarding experience possible. It’s truly a create-your-own adventure from that point on. Parties can choose whether to compete one-on-one in the battle cages, or incorporate jumbo Jenga and a life-size Connect Four game into their sessions to determine points, turns, and customize competitions.

Bury The Hatchet provides as much fun, freedom and opportunities to play as possible during the allotted time, and that is a part of their credo. “The intention is for all players to end their session feeling like a ‘Bad-ass’,” according to General Manager, Matt Sylvester. “We’ve received comments from customers saying they didn’t receive many throws at other axe locations, and they like that we provide more flexibility here. We are here for the customer – we provide high quality experience and fun all the time.” This must be true as the response from the neighborhood and beyond has been incredible. Bury the Hatchet has had solid bookings since opening. The Bury the Hatchet Bar is on its way this summer. Selections include delicious wine, beer, and hard cider including many excellent Brooklyn brands.

Fun Factor Score and Venue Ambiance: 4 – Bury the Hatchet has positive, free-flowing vibes from the time guests arrive until they leave. Décor is minimal feels like being in a rural hipster’s basement full of lumber beams, with seasoned (yet comfortable) over-sized furniture and board games. The venue’s open space with high ceilings and gated lanes contrasts nicely with the cozy lounge area. All is very indicative of Brooklyn, reflecting a balance of urban edge, originality and hospitable leisure.

 Cost: 39.99 (approximately $5 more than Kick Axe) + tax and fees, if applicable

Session Length:  Full session is 1.5 hours (15 minutes more than Kick Axe); Walk-in sessions are 45 minutes (half a session)

Age Range: 16 years old and up

Staff Knowledge:  All Axe Masters extremely friendly and at the top of their game. Many participate in leagues and have won competitions.

Drinks and Treats: The bar is in the works! Get ready to enjoy beer, wine, and hard cider this summer while flinging axes all around. For now, guests can bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages for fuel.

Future Plans: There’s talk of upcoming Trivia Nights, a Dungeon’s and Dragons themed event (Yes, get excited!) and late night axe-throwing – similar to Midnight Bowling with glow-in-the-dark painted axes, targets and black lights.

Overall Experience: Fantastic! The friendly, enthusiastic staff is very patient and dedicated to seeing all guests succeed and have a blast. Once guests feel comfortable throwing, the masters suggest challenges like precision training (taping three balloons to various parts of the target and guests perfect their aim by popping the balloons instead of aiming for the bulls-eye) and other games to enhance the experience. Those who think they are hot stuff have opportunities to join leagues and can visit every Thursday night to practice, or perfect their inner ‘Bad Ass.’ Take advantage of the half-priced Walk-In sessions on Wednesdays, Visit the website for details.

Kick Axe – Brooklyn

Is that a bull?! Yep, it’s Babe the Bull, the unofficial mascot of Kick Axe Brooklyn. He’s strategically parked in front of the entrance, drawing visitors from blocks away in Gowanus, near Park Slope. Babe is bold, stands out, and is different, reflecting the venues spirit.  People wander inside to see flying hatchets as guests cheer or grunt every few seconds. “It’s a great place just to hang out, you don’t have to commit to playing. Just come in, have some pizza, grab a cold beer, and watch others play,” a welcome suggestion from John Sales, Operations Manager.

The warm hospitality and whimsy ambiance strikes a delicate balance between cozy Americana ski lodge and a relaxed New England cottage, with heavy metal and garage band tunes in the background. Similar to Bury the Hatchet, customers sign a waiver and undergo a short tutorial before the battle begins. After a few initial throws, Axe Masters take time to suggest pointers for each player’s personal throwing style to improve aim and accuracy. This is helpful and shows how dedicated the masters are to each player. Once guests are on a roll it’s time to turn up the heat. Challenges such as Around the World and First to 21 Points (both games are based on a combination of points, strategy, and luck) revs up everyone’s competitive spirit.   

Fun Factor Score and Venue Ambiance:  5 – If social atmosphere is a top priority (regardless of age range), then this is the place to be. There’s more opportunity for social engagement and family focused fun. Ample indoor and outdoor seating, a photo corner with Viking props, and lounge area to watch throws, plus the bar are all added bonuses.

Cost: $35 plus tax (approximately $5 less than Bury the Hatchet)

Session Length: 75 minutes/ 1 hour, 15 minutes (15 minutes less than Bury the Hatchet); Walk-Ins are welcome but those sessions are at designated times. visit site for deets.

Age Requirement: 8 years old and up

Knowledgeable Staff: All ‘Axe-perts’ are at the top of their game. Many participate in leagues and are competition winners.

Drinks and Treats: There’s a soft bar with wine, a decent selection of beer (local and national brands), cider, hard seltzer, and sake as well as soft drinks. Hungry guests can order Table 87 Pizza and other snacks to satisfy the munchies.

Kick Axe Brooklyn bar selection

Overall experience: Brilliant experience!Since Gowanus hosts other extreme sports like archery, fencing, and bouldering, axe-throwing seems like a natural progression and a great addition to the area. The sociable axe masters are experts and have a kick-ass time guiding guests on the customized axe-adventure.  Since it officially opened at the beginning of 2018, Kick Axe Brooklyn is the pioneer location in the borough’s axe craze.  It sets the gold standard for other axe concepts here and beyond, as the chain is expanding into other major cities.

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