Urban Axes kicked off the national craze over recreational axe-throwing with its 2016 launch in Philadelphia. Two years and six other locations later, the company is expanding its local presence with second Philly facility.
Like the flagship Kensington outpost, Urban Axes’ expansion site is in a non-central neighborhood. The 9,300-square-foot facility — twice the size of the original — will be at 2501 Wharton St., basically on the border of Point Breeze and Grays Ferry.
Per co-owner Krista Paton, the location was chosen for a couple of reasons. One, it’s on the diagonally opposite side of the city, making it easier to access for a whole new swath of people (including, Paton noted, three of the company owners who live nearby). Two, the building is “close to residential, but not too close,” giving UA the opportunity to be part of a community.
The vibe of the Gray’s Ferry/Point Breeze spot will also be similar to that of the flagship (think understated, industrial, soft 2010s grunge). Per a spokesperson for Urban Axes, Courtney Osgood, they might be including additional food and beverage amenities — but nothing is so far set in stone.
Since the space is larger, there’s more room for more people to fling axes at one of 20 bullseyes at any given time. Per Osgood, the five arenas within the facility will be able to safely accommodate 125 participants — and allow for more league play, which has been consistently sold-out since it started.
Paton has been thrilled — and somewhat surprised — with the overwhelming response to the original spot, and its subsequent sister branches in Austin, Baltimore and Durham.
“We knew that we were creating something special,” she told Billy Penn, “but it’s still a bit surreal knowing how fast everyone accepted and adopted the sport. It’s been an amazing and humbling experience.”
Urban Axes has additional expansions underway in Boston, Cincinatti and Houston. It faces competition from a host of other axe-throwing companies that’ve joined the scene — one of which, Bury the Hatchet, is already operating in Philly. NYC-based Kick Axe has also announced plans to open here.
Like UA’s sister location in Kensington, the hours of operation will available for bookings 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, and 4 to 11 p.m. on Mondays. It’ll also be adults-only (21+), with the option to BYO beer, wine and food.
Urban Axes South Philly is slated to open in spring 2019.