License Board Not Convinced on Axe Throwing

April 21, 2018
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The Everett License Commission is prepared to welcome back Revolution Axe on Monday night after a presentation on March 26 that continued to draw concerns from Board members about safety – especially the idea of having an open space where the activity takes place.

Chair Phil Antonelli said this week that the company – which looks to locate a recreational axe throwing business next to SkyZone on Air Force Road – is scheduled to be back before the Board on Monday for a hearing on their requested liquor license and continued discussion on their plans.

That said, after the March 26 meeting, Antonelli said there are some concerns about having the axes being thrown in an open area while alcohol is being consumed.

“The Board’s concern is you’re still throwing an axe in an open area,” he said. “The bottom line is if you are throwing an axe and alcohol is involved, you can’t have it in an open area. I wanted it to be in something like a batting cage where the thrower is surrounded by a fence. I don’t really care what’s going on in Somerville (where another company is starting a similar business) or Canada. I only care about what’s going on in Everett. If you got the wrong person coming in and they have a disagreement, you could have a major problem there…No one on the Board at this point is in favor of having an open area where they’re throwing axes.”

The company and the axe throwing pastime is new to Everett and to the region, though some businesses have already formed in other areas. The idea, according to Revolution, is much like bowling.

However, Greg DiLullo said, there are some major differnces, such as the fact that the company will only do business by reservation. He said it’s not like a bowling alley where one can rent a lane after coming off the street. He also said an important difference is they have coaches and staff at the “lanes” to make sure everything is done safely.

“We understand that there is concern when we talk about beer and axes in the same sentence, so our first priority will always be safety,” said Revolution in a previous statement to the Independent. “Axe-throwing and good company are the focus, and if people want to drink a beer too, we would like to be able to offer that in a safe and controlled manner.”

The company said they plan to concentrate on safety first and will implement the following procedures.

  • Each group will have a coach available to introduce them to the sport, walk them through the games, and provide assistance when needed.
  • Only one player per target is allowed in throwing area.
  • Fencing between targets keeps throwers safe from axes being thrown in other lanes.

From their research, DiLullo said the member-organization has logged 14 million axes thrown with no serious injuries during regulated play.

At the moment, the company has been in contact with Everett City Councilors to show them more accurately what the activity will look like in practice, noting that there might be a lot of misconceptions as to what they will be doing.

“It’s safe in practice and it’s really important to have people see what it really looks like,” DiLullo said. “That’s one thing we’re trying to promote now…I think the numbers are there to prove this is safe; it’s just that people need to see what it looks like.”

He said they may or may not be before the Board on Monday, indicating they could continue the matter to next month.

Antonelli said they remain cautious on the plan, as it is very new here.

“This is all new; it’s a fad that’s just now catching on,” he said. “There is not a long list of places that have it, so we’re not eager to jump on something new without caution, especially where alcohol is involved.”

In other licensing matters:

  • Bone Up Brewery was before the Board to talk about an expansion of its brewery in the Fermentation District. The company has been in business about 18 months and has found great success.
  • Monte Cristo Steak House on Main Street sought an all alcohol restaurant license to expand their restaurant into a newly vacant space and serve alcohol.
  • Winners Bar & Grill and Everett Bar & Grill, both on Ferry Street, were called before the Board due to recent police reports governing activities in question at the establishments.
  • The Brahim Group continues to seek permission for a liquor license and for its tobacco license to open a Hookah Bar on Ferry Street. The location is the former home of a troubled night club, and Antonelli said the Board wants to make sure everything is done correctly.