Tap That Axe and throw one back
Chucking an ax while having a beer is a trend that has recently taken over the country, and soon, the Triad will get its very own ax-throwing bar.
Michael Citro is the owner/ founder of Tap That Axe Throwing, and he credits his wife, Elaine, with coming up with the catchy name. Citro has never owned a bar, but he is the owner of a cell phone repair shop and is an entrepreneur who has owned other businesses in the past.
Citro first went to an ax-throwing bar in Ohio last summer while he was visiting the area. He describes ax throwing as “fun, exciting and thrilling.” Inspired by the business model, he wanted to bring this “cutting edge” concept back home to the Triad. Citro said he is always looking for something fun, exciting and new to do and that was one of his motivators in starting this business.
“When I heard this and saw that it was becoming popular, and I saw that it wasn’t really in the local area, I thought that it would be a great idea.”
Citro moved to North Carolina from Miami about 18 years ago. He said in Miami, there is always something to do, but in the Triad, there are not that many options.
“Here, to me, it seems like everyone likes to go out to eat and there are a ton of restaurants,” he said. “As far as activities, there doesn’t seem to be much.”
Citro said since ax throwing is an indoor sport, it is an attraction that people can enjoy year-round. So far, he has secured a building located at the Village Square shopping center in Clemmons right off of Interstate 40 and Lewisville Clemmons Road.
“It is right next door to a place called the Village Square Tap House, which is a very popular bar in the area,” he said. “So I think it will complement each other well.”
Citro said he chose the Clemmons location because he could not find space big enough in Winston-Salem. He said he stumbled upon a building located at 6000 Meadowbrook Mall Ct. #12 in Clemmons by chance and it ended up being the perfect fit.
“It is a place you can throw axes with a bar is how I like to describe it,” he said. “It really won’t be the place where you would go in, sit at the bar, have a beer and leave. The bar is more for the patrons of the ax throwing.”
Citro said he plans to have 16 targets or eight ranges, where each range has two targets. He said with the extra space, there is potential to add on more ranges. Citro said that the throwing axes are about the size of a hatchet, and regulated by an affiliation (in which Tap That Axe Throwing is apart of) called the World Axe Throwing League.
According to the website www.worldaxethrowingleague.com/axe-throwing-rules/, the size of the throwing ax is a minimum one foot long with a maximum of 4 ¾ -inch blade weighing in at 2 pounds.
For safety reasons, there will be no liquor served at the bar, only be beer and wine selections (with as many local selections as he can), fountain drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages. He said that people would have to sign a waiver upon entering and before throwing as well.
“Our main concern is safety,” he said. “So we are going to have [staff members] train on safety 100 percent. The people that come to participate will be brought up to speed on how to do it and all the safety procedures that go along with it. Each throwing range will have an ‘axpert,’ that does a couple things. For one, they maintain safety within their range, help with any questions and keep score.”
Citro assures that “it would be really difficult for things to get out of hand,” because of all the safety precautions that he plans to take when he opens. He said that anyone who is visibly intoxicated would not be allowed to throw axes.
“It is more like a refreshment thing,” he said of the bar. “Like I said, you are not coming in to get plastered.”
Citro said there would be ax-throwing tournaments, leagues and special events when he opens Tap That Axe in January 2019.
“I would call it a competitive indoor sport,” he said of ax throwing. “I am so excited to see the different walks of life come in to try it. From what I can tell from the Facebook response, women are more interested in it than men.”
He said on the Tap That Axe Throwing Facebook page, (which has over 800 likes) he has noticed that more women are engaging and interacting with this concept. He said he foresees women starting their own leagues up when he opens.
“I am not saying that women are the only ones that need this, but it is also like a stress relief-type [activity],” he said. “You get aggravated and stressed; you want to take it out. So you might as well go throw something sharp at a piece of wood, have fun while you are doing it, and have a drink.”
Citro said the venue could be rented out as well for special events. Another aspect of ax throwing that Citro wants to cover, is the potential it has for retreats and collaborative activities for employees of corporations and companies.
“They can hold learning and development type things, almost like a venue,” he said. “Host it there, and everybody comes and does whatever business they have to do and learn what they need to learn. And then after work, use the ax throwing as a team building exercise.”
Citro said Tap That Axe would be an environment for groups, and each lane is set up to host six people per party. He encourages folks to come in groups and said walk-ins with a party of two would be matched up with two to four others to make a group. He believes this will cultivate a community and bring people closer together.
“For one it is not going to be boring just between you and your friend throwing back and forth,” he said. “And you build community, friendships and socialize. It builds a good sense of socialization.”
Citro is still deciding on pricing but said he thinks it will range from $20-$25 per person, per hour.
“Within that comes instruction, going over all the safety rules,” he said. “The only thing required is closed-toe shoes.”
He said tentatively, Tap That Axe Throwing would be open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. until midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. Citro said that if the Clemmons location turns out to be a hit, he is considering expanding Tap That Axe Throwing to Greensboro for a second location.
“It is very exciting and once you get that first hit on that target, and you actually get it to stick, it like opens it all up for you,” he said of ax throwing. “Once you get that thump of the ax in that wood, you see it stick whether it is in the bullseye or not, you get this rush of adrenaline and makes you keep trying more and more.”
Tap That Axe Throwing’s website is under construction, so keep in the loop by checking out its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tapthataxethrowing/). For more information, email Citro at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (336) 777-6265.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.