Axe Marks the Spot

Urban Axes in Highlandtown is a swingin’ good time.

Jess Mayhugh - December 2018

Axe Marks the Spot

Urban Axes in Highlandtown is a swingin’ good time.

Jess Mayhugh - December 2018


Libations and games people play at Urban Axes. -Kate Grewal

Over the years, we’ve found plenty of ways to supplement drinking with fun activities—darts, beer pong, Skee-Ball—but none quite as perilous as drunken axe-throwing.

Indeed, from the first moment you walk into Urban Axes (1 N. Haven St., 240-389-2937), a chain of axe-throwing bars that opened a Highlandtown location in July, you are greeted by glowing iPads and instructed to sign a waiver that includes language like, “I believe that I am physically, emotionally, and mentally able to participate in axe-throwing.” Well, able or not, we scribbled our electronic signature and forked over the $35 per person for two hours of axe-throwing lessons and games for six or more.

The other thing that greets guests at Urban Axes is a giant bar with a fairly extensive local beer selection from Union Craft Brewing, The Brewer’s Art, Flying Dog, Oliver, RAR, and next-door neighbors Monument City. (Most cans are $5, and there's a nicely priced $3 Natty Boh.) For non-beer lovers, there’s a selection of a few red, white, and bubbly wines, as well as a cider and a canned Moscow Mule. Our bartender, who bore a striking resemblance to Jay of Jay and Silent Bob fame, was friendly enough, but this isn’t exactly the kind of place where you stay and hang by the bar.

There are a couple of wooden picnic tables in the front and, of course, the requisite axe “arenas” throughout, but the space itself feels sparse. Located in an old industrial warehouse, it’s clear that not much effort was put into sprucing it up or adding any Baltimore character. We got the strong sense that any Urban Axes location around the country would feel identical.

But the real fun began when our coach, Kristin, walked us back to our arena, which feels kind of like an open batting cage, and laid out the rules. Stay behind the yellow line if it's not your turn, the red line while axes are in motion, and always tap axes with your competitor as a sign of sportsmanship before throwing. Your coach stays with you during the entire session, which is super helpful since—believe it or not—none of us had thrown an axe before. We went through a bunch of practice rounds to learn to throw and see if we felt more comfortable throwing with one hand or two (two for me) followed by a round-robin competition and a bracket-style tournament.

Turns out, throwing axes is a lot like riding a two-wheeler: You’re a bit shaky at first, but once you get your bearings, it feels almost natural. Oddly enough, we never felt unsafe, and there were plenty of groups in the space casually sipping beer and making bullseyes. It seems as if anyone can do it. As a wise person wrote on one of the wooden tables: “If you can dodge a ball, you can dodge an axe.”





You May Also Like


In Good Taste

Without Reservation: Ben Lefenfeld of La Cuchara

We check in with area restaurants in these troubling times.

In Good Taste

Maryland Farmers Market Association Closes in Vital Time for Local Foodways

What will the loss mean for Baltimore farms and food-insecure communities?

On The Town

Guinness Lovers Can Now Support the Maryland Food Bank by Picking Up Beer

Halethorpe brewery’s new curbside service benefits COVID-19 response programs.


In Good Taste

'Save Charm City Eats' Allows Diners to Buy Now and Eat Later

New sales hub offers redeemable experiences to support local restaurants.

The Chatter

Real Food Farm and Bikemore Hit the Streets Delivering Meals to Older Adults

Community project strengthens Civic Works' sustainable mission while helping neighbors in need.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: What Will Dining Rooms Look Like When They Reopen?

Mannequins, "bumper tables," and other social distancing ideas.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Maryland Farmers Market Association Closes in Vital Time for Local Foodways: What will the loss mean for Baltimore farms and food-insecure communities?

Grocery Workers Manage to Keep Morale High and Give Back Despite Long Hours: Managers and employees are working in overdrive to keep communities fed.

How to Support Small Businesses Amid Pandemic Panic: As foot traffic slows due to coronavirus, owners worry about lasting impacts.

Art of Baltimore Project Showcases Digital Works Throughout Downtown: Campaign supports local artists while illuminating the city for essential employees.

Maryland Hoops, and Everyone Else, Stomachs A Sudden End to Their Seasons: Plus, an update on Trey Mancini’s health and Joe Flacco shows for Marshal Yanda’s retirement party