Axes, hatchets and tomahawks are flying freely in Northern Utah as the blade-flinging recreational craze opens in new locations with expanded activities —and beer licenses — in place.
The trend-setter, Social Axe Throwing of Ogden, has moved into a larger space downtown, at 2581 Lincoln Ave. The company also has added locations in Salt Lake City and Orem.
Meanwhile, Hatchet Jaxe Axe Throwing is planning to open July 1 at 443 S. Deseret Drive, Suite B, in Kaysville, pitching itself as a more couples and family-oriented venue.
Brayden Floyd, co-owner of Social Axe Throwing, said his new location features more throwing lanes, pool tables and a suite of arcade games.
The new location and the pool tables were necessary moves to qualify the business for a beer license.
The old location, at 2236 Washington Blvd., was 585 feet away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Ogden Utah Temple, which put it in violation of state law that says places with recreational beer licenses must be at least 600 feet away from churches, schools, libraries, playgrounds and parks.
Floyd said the Salt Lake location met that requirement, but was denied a beer license because it did not have any recreational activities as defined by state law, such as bowling or billiards.
After adding pool tables, the Salt Lake location got a license. Floyd said the new Ogden location is licensed as well.
While beer sales are now permitted, Floyd said Social Axe Throwing remains a family-oriented venue. Children 15 and up are allowed to throw, and the business is limiting customers to three beers via a wristband system.
Arcade games, a variety of ax-throwing competitions and pool events punctuate the expanded appeal of the new home, Floyd said. The 10-player arcade game Killer Queen will be a big draw, he said.
Teenagers on prom dates and business people on team-building outings are other prime customers. Plus, Floyd added, “The bachelor’s and bachelorette parties are hilarious.”
Safety is the top priority, Floyd said. Coaches monitor the proceedings.
“Worst-case scenario is a couple of splinters,” he said.
Social Axe Throwing of Ogden was the first such venue in the western United States, according to Floyd.
His introduction to the activity came via a video in 2016 featuring actor Jason Momoa.
In the short clip, Momoa says, “Hey, hi, I’m Jason Momoa and I like beer and throwing tomahawks.”
Momoa takes a deep swig of beer from an offered glass and fires the blade to a bullseye in a wood target.
From there, Floyd learned recreational ax throwing already was a big deal in Canada, and he figured Ogden might be a great test case for the activity in the United States.
In a similar vein, Reuben Romney and his brothers Andy and Clint hope to prove that ax throwing can become a go-to activity for families and couples in Davis County.
He said they have no immediate plans to apply for a beer license at Hatchet Jaxe in Kaysville.
“We are gearing towards filling the hole of more of a family thing than just guys’ night out,” Romney said. “In the middle of Davis County, a beer license is not as important as in downtown Salt Lake or Ogden.”
The Romney brothers are relatives of U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.
“Distantly,” Reuben Romney said. “His father is my father’s great uncle. It’s not anything where we see each other at family reunions.”
Romney said he has developed trampoline parks and was watching for other entrepreneurial opportunities when he noticed ax throwing becoming popular.
“We saw the possibility of a niche” for people in the Kaysville area,” he said.