Should axe-throwing and alcohol mix? Greenpoint residents debate

December 12, 2019 Scott Enman
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An axe-throwing venue in Greenpoint is hoping to start serving up alcoholic drinks — but not everyone in the neighborhood is a fan of the idea. One neighbor at a meeting on Tuesday even suggested that tipsy tossing could lead to serious physical harm.

“I recently saw a video from last spring where in another business’ hatchet-throwing bar where a woman threw [the axe], it bounced on the floor, hit the wall, came back and almost took her head off and her boyfriend’s head off,” said Community Board 1 member Steve Chesler.

“They said it was a one in a million shot, but, if you’re going to go do work in your house with power tools, do you have a few beers first or a couple drinks?”

CB1’s State Liquor Authority Review Committee initially voted to approve the beer and wine license. The full board normally concedes to the committee’s recommendations, but after members expressed unease, they decided to put it up for a full vote on Tuesday. It eventually passed with 22 votes for, six against and two abstentions.

Chesler said the board initially denied Bury The Hatchet’s license when it first opened in October 2018 based on safety issues and that those concerns have still not been addressed.

A throwing lane of Bury The Hatchet. Photo: Alex Wieckowski/Brooklyn Eagle

Tom Burrows, chair of the SLA Committee, said they were recommending its approval since the bar has been open for more than a year, hasn’t had any incidents and the owners met with them.

“They’ve now been here operating without liquor, so they know the neighborhood, they know where the subway station is, they haven’t had people dropping axes on their toes,” he said. “They have a whole procedure in place to not allow people who are drinking to be throwing hatchets.”

Bury The Hatchet’s general manager Christine Meehan-Berg emphasized that safety is a number one concern for her company.

“The staff is TIPS-certified [Training for Intervention Procedures] and in the event that someone is too intoxicated they’ll be asked to sit out,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle when the business opened at 25 Noble St.

Its website also states that attendees “must wear or bring closed-toe shoes (save the piggies).”

Axe-throwing is similar to darts, but rather than tossing a 6-inch dart, patrons throw a 1.5-foot-long axe at a wooden target. It’s “like darts on steroids,” said Bury The Hatchet’s owner Howard Klotzkin.

The chain has 15 other locations across the nation.

In Gowanus, a similar venue called Kick Axe Throwing does serve alcohol. They have had no injuries due to intoxication since the bar opened in November 2017, according to Tony Fox, the operations manager.

He said that every thrower is under direct supervision and is in a caged area. He also said patrons are only allowed to buy one drink at a time, and if anyone appears to be inebriated, they will be removed from the throwing area.

“We’ve had people who have been intoxicated — normally on weekends — but we have a very strict policy where bartenders and ‘axperts’ are trained to spot that immediately and as soon as we do, they are no longer allowed to throw,” Fox said.

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