Fort Worth joins a hot national trend with the opening of Flying Axe Factory, an axe-throwing venue newly opened across the parking lot from Martin House Brewing Company, right off the Trinity Trails.
Axe throwing originated in Canada and is the latest in a long line of non-sporty sports such as darts, paintball, and bowling, which do not require you to be fit to participate. The ice-breaking novelty of it makes it suitable fodder for first dates, group outings, and team-building corporate events.
The number of facilities in the United States has doubled since the beginning of 2018, from 18 to 40 and counting.
Flying Axe owner Ryan Griffin, 25, is a business student at the University of Texas at Arlington.
"This started out as a school project, but everybody was overwhelmingly interested," Griffin says. "We're one of four axe-throwing places in Texas — there are venues in Richardson, Austin, and Houston — but we're the first one in Fort Worth."
In searching for the right location, he looked for up-and-coming neighborhoods and was grateful to land what was previously a storage warehouse for Martin House.
He has one wall lined with yellow cedar, with 12 lanes divided by chains, and a big stump in each lane for stashing your axe when you're not busy hurling it. "We do have logs to give that lumberjack feel," Griffin says.
One hour costs $24 for groups of four or less. The minimum age is 10 years old, and all throwing takes place under the supervision of coaches. And in what is undoubtedly the most disappointing news, due to the facility's insurance policy, you cannot bring your own axe.
He plans to connect with the World Axe Throwing League so he can host league nights, which can sometimes pay big cash prizes.
Some of these places also serve alcohol but Griffin is going for a BYOB policy, working in tandem with Martin House, with whom he'll host a grand opening event on March 4. If it all works out, a franchise in San Antonio is part of his plan.
"On my last day in class, my teacher said, 'You know, whether you open this or not, you're always going to be known as the axe man,'" he says.