New destination for ax throwing, ‘competitive socializing’ opens in DC

Visitors to Kick Axe Throwing’s website are greeted by none other than President John F. Kennedy with these words of wisdom: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask where axe throwing can be done in your country.”

Those looking for a fun night chatting with friends while throwing axes can set their sight on Northeast D.C.’s Ivy City neighborhood, where a new destination for “competitive socializing” will celebrate its grand opening this Friday. Because who needs board games these days?

Kick Axe Throwing and THRoW Social are located in the same building on Okie St. NE, just off New York Ave. On the first floor, Kick Axe Throwing offers ax throwing in an Aspen lodge-like setting.

Owner and CEO Ginger Flesher-Sonnier said it’s easier than you may think: “It’s just about momentum. You kind of rock back and you use your body to throw the axe. It rotates only once and it sticks and it’s so satisfying.”

Take an elevator one floor up, and you’ve arrived at THRoW Social, featuring throwback Palm Beach décor, iceless curling and football bowling.

“You throw footballs at bowling pins and try to knock them down. It’s a team sport. The first team to knock all the bowling pins down wins, and it’s very addictive and a lot of fun,” Flesher-Sonnier said.

The cost to play each game is $29 an hour per person. It’s suggested you book your time online in advance, but walk-ins are welcome, too.

There are full bars on each level, and the venue has a full kitchen. You don’t have to take part in any games to enjoy the food and drink.

When it comes to axe-throwing, it takes eight people to book an entire throwing range. If you have a group that’s smaller, you can share the range with others.

Justin Fox with Kick Axe Throwing shows off his skills. (WTOP/Michelle Basch )
A look at one of Kick Axe Throwing’s ranges. (WTOP/Michelle Basch )
Seating areas near the bar at Kick Axe Throwing. The place has a full kitchen and bar, and you don’t have to do any axe throwing to enjoy both. (WTOP/Michelle Basch )
This cozy area is situated near the throwing ranges, so players can eat, drink and socialize. (WTOP/Michelle Basch )
A colorful light installation lights up the bar at THRoW Social. (Courtesy Ginger Flesher-Sonnier)
Hop on an elevator, ride one floor up, and you arrive at THRoW Social, where you can play iceless curling. (WTOP/Michelle Basch )
Also upstairs at THRoW Social: inviting cabanas to transport you to a Miami-like vibe. (WTOP/Michelle Basch )

After you sign a waiver, an “axe-tructor” will join you in your throwing range, showing you how it’s done and sticking around to lead short competitions and keep players pumped up.

“It’s not a tournament style like other axe-throwing ranges, where people get eliminated in a bracket. We make it more like a darts game,” Flesher-Sonnier said.

When asked about the potential safety concerns of allowing people drinking alcohol to throw axes, Flesher-Sonnier said safety is a high priority.

“If it seems that you’re throwing in an unsafe manner in any way whatsoever, our ax pros are trained in how to shut it down. We have radios … so if we do have somebody that’s a potential issue, we alert the managers and kindly ask them (to stop).”

Both levels are kid-friendly. Kids ages 8 and up are allowed to throw axes, but if they have trouble because of their weight, Kick Axe can provide them with foam axes.

Ages 5 and up can take part in football bowling, and there are no age restrictions on curling.

All the games on both levels are already booked for Friday’s grand opening, but reservations are available on Saturday, Sunday and beyond.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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