The Axe Bar experiences success after debuting this summer


Photo Courtesy of Josephine Leonard

The Axe Bar is an axe-throwing bar that opened this summer in Champaign. The bar has already seen huge success, says Axe Bar owner Ryan Kern.

By Becca Bertram, Staff Writer

The Axe Bar, located in downtown Champaign, opened this summer. Not only has business been good, but it’s also the first of its kind in the C-U area.

An axe bar wasn’t owner Ryan Kern’s initial business motivation, but after his first axe throwing experience, Kern said he believed the community would love it just as much as he did. Especially as a bar, it doubles as a great place to host events, he said.

“I wanted to open my own bar or restaurant my entire life; it’s been a dream of mine,” Kern said. “There are so many restaurants and places to eat here. I wanted to do something outside of the box.”

This led to Kern researching axe throwing and deciding to visit a bar in St. Louis, Missouri. It was there where he saw that axe throwing was a popular activity in bigger cities, so he figured why not bring another activity to Champaign.

One of the most noticeable aspects of The Axe Bar is the employees’ enthusiasm as they show newcomers how to properly throw an axe along with the other weapons they offer. The Axe Bar offers an array of items, such as throwing axes, tomahawks, throwing stars, batarangs and upgraded axes for more experienced throwers.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Before you throw, an instructor comes to the group and demonstrates the proper throwing techniques for the chosen object and how improper throws can cause serious harm. Since it’s also a bar, there is a two-drink maximum for people who want to throw.

It was interesting to see which weapons everyone’s best at throwing, and it turns out, I’m pretty good with a small axe and almost got a bullseye. The group of people I went with were not expecting to get so competitive, but once the drinks started coming, everyone suddenly tried to become the best axe thrower in Champaign. One of the best parts about visiting this bar is seeing all the different groups of people around you trying to outdo each other; it’s a very carefree environment once you’re comfortable.

The Axe Bar costs $14.99 per person for 30 minutes, $24.99 for one hour of throwing and $34.99 for 90 minutes.

“For first-timers, we suggest an hour to 90 minutes so you get more bang for your buck,” Kern said.

He said many people ask for more time, which ends up costing more.

Not only does The Axe Bar offer a unique activity, but it also holds events every week, so if you’re not interested in throwing, there might be something else for you to enjoy.

One of the more exciting aspects of the bar is the monthly drag show. The next show happens to be on Halloween this year. The theme is “Wet Cemetery,” featuring a local favorite queen, Ceduxion Carrington, and other queens such as Zoe Meltdown and Just Sue.

There will be Halloween contests such as axe throwing, best blood-curdling scream and best costume. The best part is their offer to “hex your ex” if you bring a photo or one of their belongings. Kern believes that his success in bringing the C-U area closer together is just the beginning for his business, and he will take it one day at a time to provide a fun place for locals to hang out.

The Axe Bar is located at 114 S. Neil St., Champaign, which is in the downtown area. Be prepared to spend some money for an experience that will last a lifetime and keep you coming back for more.

[email protected]