Oscars Attendees at Four Seasons Gifted $13,500 Boozy Axe-Throwing Experience

Kick Axe_Split - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Kick Axe

The experiential sport will get the VIP treatment at the 2019 Oscars, with a $13,500 gift certificate from Kick Axe Brooklyn.

Drunken axe-throwing is the latest gaming trend du jour sweeping the U.S. The experiential sport will even get the VIP treatment at the 2019 Oscars, with a $13,500 gift certificate from Kick Axe Brooklyn — New York City’s first axe-throwing bar — included among the pricey gift offerings in the in-suite Oscar gift bag for the elite crop of nominees, presenters and attendees residing at the Four Seasons Los Angeles Beverly Hills for the ceremony.

A-listers will receive an open invitation to visit the East Coast thrill-seeking establishment, giving stars ample access to try out the surprisingly not-so-hazardous pasttime for a bit of post-award season stress relief. The package includes an open bar and one-on-one training with the hip locale’s “ax-perts.”

“Wouldn’t it fun to have a full buy-out of our venue, with open bar and catering, where a celeb could bring one friend or 100 friends?” Kick Axe founder and owner Ginger Flesher-Sonnier tells The Hollywood Reporter of the initial impetus for the invitation, which awaits stars such as Lady Gaga, Rami Malek, Viggo Mortenson, Yalitza Aparicio, Glenn Close, Melissa McCarthy and more.

Pairing fun with a touch of danger can be an addictive combination. "It allows for stress relief and that combination is perfect for relaxation — to let loose, enjoy yourself, and even get a little exercise," says Flesher-Sonnier. "We take safety seriously so we have a lot of protocol in place, and there’s always an ax-pert with you to make sure that you’re not intoxicated and that you’re throwing safely." A few drinks, though, can help patrons relax enough to better their standings in the rings. "When they aren’t trying so hard, it works better," she says. 

The 7,000-square-foot haunt in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn features ten metal cages (dubbed “ax ranges”) where guests compete to throw silver axes at large wooden targets, guided by the "ax-perts" who provide lessons on accuracy, proper technique, and ( most importantly) safety, which includes creating a very necessary barrier between the booze and the blades, with no drinks permitted inside cages.

More or less a raucous version of darts, the sport has already attracted stars such as Oscar winner Holly Hunter (The Piano, Broadcast News), and actors Karen Gillan (Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy), Jack Falahee (How To Get Away With Murder), and Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), plus Food Network celebrity chef Anne Burrell and The Bachelor alums Catherine Giudici and Sean Lowe. The hot-spot will also feature on upcoming episodes of Viceland’s Untitled Action Bronson Show and Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York and has hosted “team-building” exercises for tech giants Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, Google, Amazon and more.

The company (and it’s apt slogan #holdmybeer) finds its origins in Canadian logging competitions, with Kick Axe's decor taking on much of our northern neighbor's trademark lumberjack-chic aesthetic. The experiential guru aimed to elevate the activity into a "lodge setting" rather than a barren warehouse, typical in past iterations.

"I was seeing everybody put it in a warehouse with lots of plywood," Flesher-Sonnier cracks. "I thought it would be so cool if it was actually in a nice venue." Reminiscent of a hip winter lodge, the space comes complete with flannel tartan chairs and plenty of taxidermy— including calfskin carpeting and antler chandeliers—plus a giant plastic bull at the entrance. 

Nestled just off the nabe’s warehouse-heavy Fourth Avenue, the mid-century modern-leaning watering hole offers patrons an uncommon thrill to accompany their evening libations, in line with similarly adventurous local staples that boast rock climbing, shuffleboard and archery.

The entrepreneur’s Ginger Companies owns an array of experiential businesses including Washington D.C.’s Escape Room Live—where guests solve clues and puzzles to "escape" out of a movie-themed room—and THR?W Social, which combines craft cocktails with backyard games such as curling, football and shuffleboard at locations in D.C., New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.





*DJ Khaled voice*...Anotha one @instayossi

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"We were the first in New York City. I had seen ax-throwing showing up in my Instagram feed but it was mostly from Canada. It intrigued me. I was like 'wow, I could take this and make it so much cooler,' " says Flesher-Sonnier, noting that there are also locations in Philadelphia and Washington D.C.  Kick Axe’s "ax-perts," a main tenet of the brand, mostly include entertainers. "The ironic part is we want people with incredible personalities, so we hire a lot of SAG actors and some comedians," she adds.

For a reservation on weekend nights, rates per person start at $35 for 75 minutes, plus a minimum of eight to book a range; Pairing up with strangers is always an option. Menu selections include beer, wine, Pop-Tarts, microwave soups and catering options for large groups.

The Oscars gift bag coup, hopefully, will give Flesher-Sonnier’s latest start-up a co-sign from her favorite A Star Is Born stars (and nominees) this year. "We are hoping, of course, that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will come and check it out. Doesn’t she live in Manhattan? That’s my goal."