Craft Axe Throwing, where you may someday be able to order a craft beer and throw axes at a target, should be opened in two weeks. But there won't be beer yet.
This will be a no-nonsense facility, at 1821 N St., with a focus on safety and bringing entertainment for the family, corporation parties and birthday parties, said Jake Jensen, one of the owners.
Eventually Craft Axe Throwing hopes to serve craft beer and hard cider like the business does in its original location in Greenville, South Carolina.
Craft Axe Throwing is one of two businesses that hopes to combine ax throwing and beer that are seeking liquor licenses and will be discussing their plans with the Lincoln City Council at Monday’s 3 p.m. meeting.
The other business, Tomahawks, plans to open at 815 O St., which is the former location of two bars, Born in a Barn and before that, Sweep Left.
Neither business plans to serve food and both are seeking an on-sale beer license, not one of the expanded liquor licenses.
Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister pointed out both businesses, since they are near other bars and college housing, are likely to have customers who have consumed alcohol at other locations.
He recommends, in a letter to the council, the businesses adopt and enforce strong alcohol policies to “ensure the safety of their staff and public.”
Craft Axe Throwing will not only have a trained staff, who monitor and help individuals, but will also require wristbands for everyone. One band for those over 21 and another band for minors, Jensen said.
The business will also not allow people to hold a beer while throwing, he said.
Craft Axe, which is opening a similar business in Omaha, expects to have a mixed-age crowd and children as young as 8 will be able to throw, with a parent or guardian present, Jensen said.
We come from an entertainment base, said Jensen, who is also involved in the Lincoln Escape Room.
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Council members will have many questions about the procedures, about how you integrate ax throwing with a beer or two, said Councilman Roy Christensen.
He said several businesses in other states limit customers who want to throw axes to two beers.
"It looks interesting and entertaining, and I’m sure the owners will make sure it is safe for everyone," he said.
City staff recommended the businesses create some liquor policies, which staff could enforce if they have intoxicated individuals, said Tonya Peters, an assistant city attorney.
Peters also suggested the state Liquor Control Commission, which makes the final decision on liquor licenses, should create some universal safety policies for these kinds of businesses that mix more dangerous sports with alcohol.
In other places across the country there are specific policies, related to shooting ranges, that prohibit people from using the ranges after they have been drinking. Basically it’s a shoot first, drink later, policy, Peters said.
The city could create its own rules for ax throwing businesses, but it makes more sense for the state commission to set some universal rules for the entire state, she said.
This is a balancing act, trying to allow the business to succeed while also worrying about the health and safety of customers, she said.
Jensen said he and his partners focus on safety and continually sharpen their process. "If we see something we don't like, we change it immediately," he said.
An ax-throwing club called Valhalla's Gates closed in May after five months of operation. It ran into zoning issues and issues regarding people bringing in alcohol.
The Lincoln club did not have a liquor license but allowed people to bring their own bottles, which was against the law at the time.