Axes flew in a refurbished warehouse thick with the smell of lumber on Broad Avenue.
A few picnic tables and patio lights decorated the otherwise bare-bones space that houses five lanes, similar to batting cages, each with two wooden bullseye targets.
The space, Civil Axe Throwing, is a safe place for people to throw axes for fun or for sport. It officially opened here last week. This is the fourth location that owners Jorge and Erin Lima have opened. The first opened two years ago in Huntsville, followed by locations in Chattanooga and Birmingham.
- Smith gets in the game.
Jorge Lima said that axe throwing is a growing sport in North America that requires skill, but is doable for people of all athletic abilities.
"I think that's why it's so attractive," Jorge Lima said.
It's like darts, but with a 3.5 pound axe. It's loud, but it's safe (for the most part). Participants aren't just given an axe and the green light to go into full lumberjack mode.
Each session begins with staff giving an axe-throwing tutorial and safety instructions. For example, don't walk in front of someone throwing an axe. Lima said the experience is not like one you would get at a shooting range, where you walk in, shoot, and leave.
"You can do that here if you want, but we really want to provide an axe experience," he said. "We want to help all participants throw effectively and be successful."
Lima was my coach during a press preview last week. He said to put the axe behind your head, tuck your elbows so that you can smell your armpit, step forward, and release.
It felt weird at first because, well, I was throwing an axe across the room. But, once I got the hang of it, there was something cathartic about chucking an axe as hard as I could at a wall. And there was even more satisfaction when I managed to stick the target.
"It's just innately fun and primitively euphoric," Lima said. "You get to throw something sharp at an object, and you're even encouraged to do it."
Axe throwing is $20 per person for an hour session. There are also options for group events, walk-ins, and league play. It's open Thursday, 3-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m.-midnight; and Sunday 3-9 p.m.
Lima said a four-week league will kick off in November "just to get things flowing while we get momentum here." The goal is to start the full eight-week league in January to be consistent with the leagues at the other three Civil Axe locations.
Civil Axe is directly next to the Rec Room, occupying what used to be a storage room for the bar. Taylor Berger, one of the Rec Room owners, said when he found out Civil Axe was coming to Memphis, he reached out to the company about using the space.
"People come to the Rec Room to have fun and do activities," Berger said. "For them to have another active outlet next door is a great complement and is exciting for us."