Burying the Hatchet
Anarchy Axe Throwing Offers Unique Experience With Games & Escape Rooms
Photographer: Michael Durr
Have you been looking for a unique group activity for friends or family that strays from the usual night out for dinner and drinks? Perhaps you’ve just been searching for a fun way to relieve some stress?
Well, why not throw some axes for a while?
Last September Indianapolis natives Rachel and Steve Middleton opened the doors to Anarchy Axe Throwing, which offers structured axe throwing games for groups as well as an eight-week league for more serious competitors.
The Middletons developed a passion for the pursuit several years ago after stopping at an axe-throwing establishment during a family trip to Canada. They subsequently noticed that the activity had been slowly growing in popularity in Canada and the U.S., and the couple decided to make use of what Rachel describes as a shared entrepreneurial spirit to open up their own spot.
“We ran escape rooms for about five years, and when we moved back to Indy a couple years ago from Maryland we eventually found this place which is perfect and has plenty of room for axe throwing,” Rachel says of the location on Allisonville Road near 96th Street. “It’s a fun alternative for people and families who might want something different.”
Since the September opening, the Middletons have hosted birthday parties, group team-building functions and family outings, and Anarchy Axe Throwing also features two escape rooms onsite (for those unfamiliar, it’s a game in which a group must figure out clues that facilitate an escape from a locked, often themed area such as a library or a prison cell).
“We both have a passion for axe throwing,” says Rachel, who takes lessons in archery, knife throwing and axe throwing with Steve. “We enjoy instructing customers and helping them with this new skill. That’s the most fun part for us.”
Anarchy’s eight-week league falls under the umbrella of the World Axe Throwing League, a governing organization that establishes league rules and guidelines for members, holds several international tournaments and promotes the sport worldwide.
The Middletons offer birthday party packages at Anarchy that include an hour-long escape room experience (current escape room themes at the facility are Wizard’s Escape and Wild Wild West), along with axe throwing games. Outside food and non-alcoholic beverages are allowed onsite, and the Middletons are in the process of obtaining a beer and wine license in order to offer alcoholic refreshments sometime in 2019.
“It’s been popular for date nights and group outings,” Rachel says. “There’s no age restriction, and we’ve had groups of kids 10 to 15 who are actually really good at it. The cool thing is everyone kind of develops their own unique throw, and we coach you until you find yours.”
Rachel says she and Steve occasionally see first-timers become a bit apprehensive about handling an axe and throwing properly, and every participant receives thorough safety and throwing instructions prior to hurling any axes toward targets.
“We’ll sometimes get people who are a little intimidated about doing this — after all, it’s throwing sharp, metal objects — but after you throw it once you see it’s a great stress reliever and a release of adrenaline,” she says. “People usually get comfortable with it pretty quickly. It’s a safe activity that most any person can do. After a quick lesson they normally surprise themselves and get good at it.”
Anarchy is currently the largest axe throwing facility in the state according to the Middletons, and Rachel and Steve are currently expanding the space to include an archery range and ping pong leagues.
“I think people nowadays like trying new things, especially something like this that’s active and can be competitive,” Rachel adds. “If you’re having a bad day and you come in and throw an axe for a while, you’re not going to be having a bad day anymore.”
Anarchy Axe Throwing is located at 9546 Allisonville Road in Indianapolis. Walk-in hours are: Sun.-Thurs. 4 p.m to 9 p.m., and Fri.-Sat. 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Call 317-435-5595 or visit anarchyaxethrowing.com for more details including gift certificates, league info, frequently asked questions and a booking page.