I Went to Manhattan's First Axe Throwing Bar — and Honestly, Every New Yorker Probably Should, Too

It’s also an Instagram dream.

Interior of Live Axe
Photo: Courtesy of Live Axe

As much as there is to do in New York City, from Broadway shows to heading to the top of one of the city's many observation decks, sometimes all you need is to let out a little steam — preferably by throwing an axe. And now in downtown Manhattan, you can do just that.

Live Axe, located on the border of SoHo and TriBeCa, is the borough's first axe-throwing bar, and the perfect place to gather a group of friends for a little bit of Nordic-style fun. After seeing the trend growing across the country, mainly on Instagram, I called up some friends and we headed to Live Axe on a rainy Friday after a gloomy day working from home.

Interior of Live Axe
Courtesy of Live Axe

With a Viking theme and industrial-style space, the bar was chic and upscale but in a way that said, "Yes, this is exactly where I want to throw an axe." Upon entering, guests will notice multiple cages around the perimeter of the space with tables and booths around the center. The cages are where the magic happens (if you find hurling sharp blades across a lane magic like I do.)

Before heading to our private cage for an hour of axe throwing, we sat at a booth and ordered drinks from the bar's cocktail menu. For me, the Mez-Skul (mezcal, ancho reyes, and mango juice garnished with tamarind powder and an orange slice served in a skull glass) was the way to go, but the bar offers pretty much anything one could want, including beer and White Claws. For food, which we had served at a private table that served as a barrier for our cage, we snacked on mouthwatering chicken skewers and red and white flatbread pizzas, including one with Cauliflower crust for our gluten-free friend.

Left: people throwing axes: Right: Tanner Saunders posing in front of axe wall
Tanner Saunders

At our cage two guests were allowed in at a time to throw, all while being overseen by an employee, or Axe Coach, who teaches proper techniques and safety rules, and keeps score once you start throwing. Our little bar area was a nice place to chat with our larger group in between turns and, yes, you can have your drink nearby while throwing for a little liquid confidence.

Ultimately, my crew got the hang of axe throwing pretty quick — some quicker than others. If you haven't experienced it yourself, the only thing I can really relate the experience to is bowling and the moment when you have to turn around after either getting the perfect score or totally hitting the gutter. Either way, our hour flew by playing different games and seeing who had the best form (hint: not me). Before it was time to wrap up and finish our drinks back at the booth, we were already planning our return.

Live Axe Wall with roses and skulls
Courtesy of Live Axe

And as always, the best surprise was at the end. On our way out we discovered that the downstairs bathroom area is actually an Instagram dream, with a multi-colored wall of axes and a skull and rose display with a neon sign reading, "I'm a fighter not a lover," illuminating overhead.

Rates for Live Axe start at $45 per person on weekdays and $60 per person on weekends. Reservations can be made online and, if you really get into the sport, there's even a league to join. Bookings for private events or corporate outings can be made by emailing book@liveaxe.com or calling (888) 812-9060. Before heading to Live Axe be sure to check the latest its COVID-19 safety protocols here.

Tanner Saunders is T+L's Experiences Editor. Follow him on Instagram @Tizanner.

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