Finally, Capitol Hill’s lumbersexuals will have a hangout to call their own.
Blade and Timber, the national chain of… checks notes… axe-throwing bars is coming to Broadway.
The Missouri-headquartered company has filed for permits for the ground level retail space at 206 Broadway E that has been empty since the Castle “sex megastore” chain moved its Capitol Hill location to Pike/Pine in 2014.
The first Blade and Timber opened in Kansas City in 2017. The company has plans for rapid expansion with a push to open a dozen more locations this year including a new bar planned for Portland on Vancouver Ave. The business operates like a bowling alley — you can book a private lane for $120 for 90 minutes or share a lane for $20. Given you’ll be throwing sharpened axes together while most likely consuming alcohol, choose your lane partners wisely. If something goes wrong, fortunately the new use for Charlie’s right across the street is ready to help.
UPDATE: We can’t decide which is more dangerous. An axe bar? Or the latest concept from the entrepreneurs behind Blade and Timber — Choir Bar:
“There’s no sheet music, no judgement, no solos, and no pressure,” he said of the “reverse karaoke”-style event wherein the masses — not an individual — belt out a popular tune. “We’re here to sing alongside the best people on Earth and share an evening of good, clean fun.”
UPDATE x2: Blade and Timber’s Ryan Henrich’s tells CHS they are planning a late October/early November opening if everything goes right in Seattle City Hall’s busy permitting processes. The opening will be part of a rapid expansion Henrich said is about “opportunities to be first to market” as well as population and tourism. Broadway’s centrality in the city and proximity to light rail were also important factors. But just important for the company is the strong flow of potential customers already coming to the area for food, drink, and entertainment.
“We are acutely focused on meaningful, shared experiences,” Henrich said, sharing a bit of the company’s special recipe. SwellSpark, Henrich and business partner Matthew Baysinger’s holding company focused on interactive entertainment experiences like escape rooms, wants to create experiences its customers off all types can quickly master but are also viscerally memorable.
“Remember that time we went to throw axes with grandma? The big thing is you’re a part of the experience,” Henrich said.
Henrich said they’ve looked at other lumberjack skills — Lumber and Blade TVs are set to show lumberjack competitions when there isn’t a big sportsball game on — but found axe-throwing to be the best for wanna be ‘jacks to start with.
These are busy times for SwellSpark and Lumber and Blade. Henrich says they have the two Kansas City locations open, are under construction with three more in other cities, and then the Seattle L&B will open this fall. The company is also wrapping up leases for four more spaces — including inside the Mall of America, naturally.
The look and feel of the bars is consistent with a clean but welded, industrial look mixed with an organic feel from the sports turf tossing surface. By the time it opens, Henrich expects the Seattle Lumber and Blade to be the “premier location” thanks to experience gathered during the previous buildouts.
You also should expect to see more from SwellSpark in Seattle once the Lumber and Blade beachhead has been established. Henrich said there are plenty more games to play and fun to be had taking “a really concentrated form of that experience” and turning it into a SwellSpark concept. Surely, a new Seattle fish tossing bar cannot be far behind.
The axe-tossing bar chain’s arrival on Broadway is part of a big investment in the commercial building just a block from Capitol Hill Station. CHS reported here earlier this year on real estate investor Dhruv Agarwal’s plans to overhaul the building in anticipation of even greater growth in activity around the light rail facility. “It’s an incredible part of the city with the new light rail station opening,” Agarwal told CHS in January. “As the light rail network expands and traffic gets worse in Seattle, the Capitol Hill Station is going to be a hub for entertainment and neighborhood shopping.”
Above the coming axe tossing bar, the vegan rockers at the Highline remain ensconced in the bar’s longtime second story home. Agarwal, meanwhile, is moving forward with another part of his project creating new office space behind the vegan bar and night spot.
Blade and Timber is planned to open at 206 Broadway E. You can learn more at bladeandtimber.com.
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