The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Indoor Axe Throwing Parties (Yes, Axe Throwing) Are Coming To The West Loop

By Stephanie Lulay | August 22, 2016 11:42am | Updated on August 22, 2016 3:07pm

WEST LOOP — A Canadian company that specializes in indoor axe-throwing parties is opening their first U.S. location in the West Loop next month.

Bad Axe Throwing will open its first U.S. location at 165 N. Loomis St. near Bottom Lounge on Sept. 9, according to the company's website.

The axe-throwing craze has taken over Canada, and Bad Axe Throwing has opened 10 locations across the country since 2014, said company spokeswoman Melanie St. Amour. Bad Axe Throwing specializes in birthday parties, corporate events, bachelor parties and other celebrations with a lumberjack twist. 

Despite a rapid expansion, axe throwing indoors, an alternative to bowling or laser tag, is still a relatively novel idea in Canada, said Jesse Gutzman, chief axe thrower at Bad Axe. 

"As far as the States, there are axe-throwing and knife-throwing festivals in some Midwest cities, but it's mostly a small, unheard-of sport," Gutzman said. 

No experience is required and participants learn how to throw an axe at a target from expert coaches in a safe environment, Bad Axe Throwing founder Mario Zelaya said. Regular admission for a Chicago axe throwing event will be $45.25 plus tax, according to the company's website, and events last about three hours. 

With guidance, the sport has a quick learning curve, Gutzman said. Within five throws, most first-time throwers will stick the target. 

And women love the sport, Gutzman said. About 60 percent of Bad Axe's current clients are female. 

"It is very easy. You catch on quickly and it's a lot of fun," he said. 

While parties will be allowed to bring beer into the facility, throwing coaches strictly monitor throwers to make sure they aren't intoxicated, Gutzman said. Parties are limited to bringing in beer in cans, no hard alcohol of any kind or alcohol in glass bottles is permitted and coaches ensure that participants aren't intoxicated when they arrive at the facility, Gutzman said. 

"If people want to have a few drinks that's fine, but we want to keep to environment safe," Gutzman said. "They can loosen up and have a good time, but we don't have anyone taking it too far." 

To date, no one has been injured at any of Bad Axe's existing indoor throwing facilities. 

"People realize there is a chance that this can be dangerous, and because people are aware, they tend to be a lot safer from the get-go," Gutzman said. 

Bad Axe Throwing plans to host a free open house where neighbors can test their steel-chucking talents Sept. 9-11. After the open house, the facility will be open by appointment only. 

The Chicago Bad Axe locations plans to launch an eight-week throwing league at the end of November, Gutzman said. 

"We're really excited to open our newest location in Chicago," said Zelaya. "It's a beautiful city and we're honored to provide unique and quality entertainment for everyone." 

Bad Axe Throwing has longterm plans to expand to other locations around Chicago, too, Gutzman said. 

The booming West Loop is becoming a destination for unique entertainment venues. Brooklyn Boulders, an indoor rock climbing gym, opened in 2014 and Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling and concert venue in Fulton Market, is slated to open next year. 

Bad Axe Throwing, an indoor axe throwing company, is opening their first U.S. location in the West Loop next month. [Bad Axe Throwing]

At their 10 current locations, Bad Axe Throwing hosts a number of birthday parties, bachelor parties and other celebrations. [Bad Axe Throwing]

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: