WATERTOWN — One ax-throwing venture in Watertown is looking to hit its mark.
In cities nationwide, ax-throwing bars are opening their doors to stressed-out individuals seeking a night of release and friendly competition.
Kiss My Axe, located inside The Market, 210 S. Water St., in Watertown, is owned by Jorge Monterrey and Misti Hawn, both of Watertown, and located adjacent to their pub, simply named The Bar.
Since opening a few weeks ago, Kiss My Axe has attracted a steady stream of city dwellers looking to blow off steam by heaving a metal ax at a fixed wooden target. In recent years, ax-throwing has grown so popular that the World Ax Throwing League was established in 2017 to organize international competitions that are now broadcast on ESPN.
“People in cities like Watertown are always hungry for new experiences,” Monterrey said. “We are here to provide something that’s fun and safe. Everybody’s always looking for a unique night out.”
Monterrey, who teaches self defense, said he was looking to pursue something new that people would enjoy. He said his friend, Ben Lappin of Watertown, brought the idea to him.
“He told me, ‘It wouldn’t make sense not to have it, especially without a bar,’” Monterrey said. “It was just an idea five months ago and now it’s up and running.”
Hawn said Watertown is undergoing a lot of change and growth and she wanted Kiss My Axe and The Bar to be a part of what is taking place.
“I’m go-go-go,” Monterrey said. “She’s slow-slow-slow, which is good because we want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable experience here. We spearheaded this for Watertown, which is to get people to come here. We need patrons from 30 miles away to come to Watertown; check out the city and see what we have to offer them.”
Hawn, who is employed as a client executive with AVID Risk Solutions Insurance in Watertown, said every participant must sign a waiver. To throw an ax, an individual can be as young as 8 years old, but he or she must be accompanied by a legal guardian or a parent.
The cost to throw for one hour is $25.
Here’s what you do: Sign the waiver and rent the lane. Staff talk players through a set of safety protocols, such as understanding their surroundings as who could be throwing next to me, staying behind the line at all times, and to wait until the other person is done throwing to collectively pick up the axes and so on.
Participants can throw one- or two-handed with their thumbs on the spine of the ax. They toss the one-and-a-half pound ax at a target 12 feet away and repeat. If at first, second or third, you don’t succeed, just keep throwing.
Hawn said staff members are trained to keep their eyes on intoxication levels and instructed to eject people if they had too much to drink.
“We have control measures in place,” Monterrey said, adding that no beverages of any kind are allowed in the throwing area.
Hawn pointed out that bartenders are not allowed to drink, so they remain clearheaded and can spot a possible problem.
Meanwhile, The Bar itself is inviting and rustic.
“We are supporting all craft beers and spirits from Wisconsin,” she said. “It’s a very open place allowing for social interaction. It’s all about promoting people.”
For those less inclined to toss an ax, The Bar also has board games with plenty of cozy seating available.
“We wanted to make the bar open to anyone, like a community,” she said