SLOAN COLUMN: Get ready to bury the hatchet
Alcohol and sharp instruments? Yes, it does seem like a decidedly dangerous combination, but bar and pub patrons have been hoisting pints of frosty malt and hurling darts at round boards for centuries. I myself have thrown a few back while at the same time tossing a few pointed objects. No harm done, as best as I can recall.
Darts, it appears, has now been replaced by a game of flailing larger, more menacing sharp objects. Axe-throwing establishments are now all the rage. Grab a few friends and spend an evening hurling hatchets for points. Not exactly what you would call a dull evening, right?
Folks in Florence and the Pee Dee will soon get their chance to bury the hatchet without having to drive to Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte or Greenville. Not one, but two axe-throwing businesses will be opening in the coming weeks.
Owner Michael Morris is still working out the final details, but hopes to open the doors to Palmetto Axe as early as Dec. 1. The business will be located in the former Southern Bridal building on West Palmetto. He said Palmetto Axe would have 13 hurling lanes, each with wooden backboards and fenced partitioning. Patrons will pay by the hour, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $20, to chuck a tomahawk at some plywood for 60 minutes.
Not to be outdone, Blade & Bull Axe Throwing will be setting up shop inside Seminar Brewery on West Lucas Street. Blade & Bull is an established business, already operating two successful locations in Charleston. They too hope to open the first week of December.
I certainly plan to give it a go. I’m sure it’s not nearly as easy as Fess Parker made it look in playing Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. If Mel Gibson’s depiction in the movie “The Patriot” was even close to accurate, Francis Marion must have been as good a hatchet man as he was a swamp fox.
I’ve never thrown a hatchet, as best I can recall. I do remember having a friend growing up named W.D. who occasionally wore an American Indian outfit and carried a plastic tomahawk. I think he was a Lone Ranger and Tonto fan, because I can remember him calling me “kemosabe” a lot. Anyway, he would hurl his tomahawk at brick walls and, if it hit just right, it would bounce right back to him. Pretty cool trick, I thought. I’m thinking this hatchet-throwing craze might be right up W.D.’s alley.
For W.D. or anyone else considering a night of axe flinging, here are a few things you should know:
• There are coaches on hand to offer a few “how-tos.” As I said, it’s not as easy as it may seem. Technique, rhythm and coordination are all required to hit the wood target with any consistency from a distance of 14 feet.
• You must be 18 to participate and, yes, you will be required to sign a waiver, releasing said establishment from any liability. The waivers normally require patrons to drink responsibly and agree that throwing axes, “may result in the risk of serious injury, scarring, loss of an important bodily function, permanent disability or death.” If you need to be reminded of this, you might want to rethink your entertainment options.
• Both Palmetto Axe and Blade & Bull are members of the World Axe Throwing League and will offer league competition. Both businesses will also offer group rates for birthday parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties, or corporate outings.
• Patrons will be able to hoist a beer while playing at Blade & Bull, as Seminar already offers food and drink. Palmetto Axe is still considering its options on alcohol.
• And one final interesting note: at Blade & Bull you can BYOB – bring your own blade - as long as it passes inspection by management.
While hatchet throwing may not be for everyone, I suspect both of these businesses will hit the bullseye with the adventurous sort. That would include me. I would much prefer to drop a $20 on a night of hurling hatchets than an aggravating afternoon of playing golf, but that’s just me.
Get ready Florence. It’s time to crank up the Molly Hatchet and start flirtin’ with disaster.