I Tried It: Ax Throwing in Kensington

Casually tossing weapons at Philly’s best new group-activity spot.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

I signed the waiver at Urban Axes without reading it. The nondescript warehouse on a no-man’s-land block in Kensington didn’t give me pause, nor did the fact that I’d be throwing sharp objects around without any experience.

I’d heard this was Philly’s most kick-ass BYOB, and my Facebook feed had been full of photos of wild group nights out here for months. I was ready to find out if ax hurling was all that.

Before the digital ink was dry, I was ushered into a batting-cage-like lane, me on one end, a pinewood slab painted with a target at the other. I was handed a hatchet and given some instructions. I gripped the ax like a golf club, brought my arms overhead, let it fly out of my hand, and … stick! Turns out I’m a natural. Or unknowingly Canadian. After you get the hang of it, you and your crew are meant to play a game, kind of like darts.

In the past few years, Philly’s become flush with out-of-the-box entertainment—escape rooms, indoor hipster mini golf, roving beer gardens—but none feel quite as thrilling or stress-relieving as this (which explains why it’s become popular with doctors and lawyers). Oh, and the wood. It smells really good in here, like new construction or Home Depot.

At the end of the session, I was relieved to still have all my digits. I was told the only injuries so far have been related to people using the axes to pry off the caps of their beers. So, the only advice you need: Don’t forget a bottle opener.

Urban Axes
2019 East Boston Street, Kensington; starting at $20 per person.

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