Axe-throwing bar has alcohol licence suspended

A leisure complex at which patrons are invited to throw a battle axe at targets had its alcohol licence suspended for one day after an investigation deemed its health and safety procedures to be inadequate.

Axe throwing is a sport in which competitors throw an axe at a target, attempting to hit the bulls eye, and is a featured event in most lumberjack competitions.

The one-day suspension was served on Sept. 10 by Michigan’s Liquor Control Commission to Hub Stadium, a leisure complex that features axe-throwing lanes, in order to develop new safety procedures and precautions, as reported by Detroit News.

The commission launched an investigation on June 21 when they found a safety concern involving its policy of allowing up to 10 customers in enclosed ax throwing lanes. Among their concerns were reports of patrons drinking alcohol while in the axe-throwing area (the venue’s policy does not allow this), ax-throwers wearing open-toed shoes, a lack of monitoring by bar management and axes ricocheting off targets in the direction of bystanders.

Hub Stadium also apparently did not tell the MLCC that it would offer axe throwing as part of its license application, according to the paper.

“A licensed establishment that allows alcohol-consuming patrons to throw potentially injurious and even deadly weapons posed significant concern … ” says a statement issued Tuesday, Sept. 25, by the state office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

“While the (Michigan Liquor Control Commission) does not regulate ax throwing or any other sport – and it is not contrary to the law for sporting activities to take place in liquor licensed establishments – once the results of the investigation showed that a significant threat to the public health existed at this establishment, the (Michigan Liquor Control Commission) ordered the hearing.”

The commission said the suspension would give the company time to make “numerous structural” changes.

While unusual, axe-throwing is more common than you might think. In 2016, a Canadian battle axe-throwing association applied for a liquor licence to serve alcohol at its Ontario locations, mixing drinks with a medieval sport. The Backyard Axe-Throwing League (BATL) has been bringing together axe-slinging enthusiasts since 2006. There are now six BATL axe-throwing locations in Ontario and one in Calgary.

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