A battle from the ancient days before 2020 and the global pandemic has flared again on Capitol Hill. At the center of the fight is a question that goes to the very heart of humanity and what it means to be alive — Why shouldn’t a Seattle axe-tossing venue be allowed to serve alcohol?
Broadway’s location of the nationwide Blade and Timber chain has renewed its fight after the company says the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board indicated it will not approve the venue’s most recent application to begin serving beer and wine at the venue.
“We have a lot of research and historical data to back why beers and axe throwing does not risk the safety of our guests,” Blade and Timber managing director Jessie Poole tells CHS. “The city of Seattle expressed no concerns with our intentions, the issue is at the state level, despite the expansion of axe throwing bars across the nation.”
CHS first reported — and used up our best headline — on the battle over blades and booze at the beginning of summer 2019 as the axe tossing hangout faced its first steps on the way to rejection from the board. Poole said the Kansas-based company opted to pull back on the application in the first round after early indications the state would reject its proposal.
Over the next year, Blade and Timber prepared reports to accompany its “alcohol control plan” — “No Alcohol Allowed in Axe Throwing Lanes,” reads rule 4 — and decided to try again with an application for a snack bar level license that would allow the Broadway location to serve beer and wine to patrons as it reopened following a temporary closure during COVID-19 restrictions. It included a three-page document listing the “alcohol status” of “axe throwing facilities” across the country. A few dozens including Portland Axe Throwing serve alcohol and many more are “BYOB.”
“We were hoping the state could see axe throwing bars posed no threat,” Poole said.
Now, Poole says, the WSLCB has indicated it will again reject the proposal, leaving Blade and Timber no other path but to try to, um, chop through the red tape and fight the decision. So far, they’ve kept the battle out of the courtroom.
The Capitol Hill Blade and Timber, the first expansion west of Kansas for the company, opened on Broadway in March 2019 after a total overhaul of the long empty retail space that used to be home to the Castle Megastore sex shop.
The axe tossing venue reopened last week after closing earlier this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions. It remains an axe tossing bar with no alcohol. “Safety first,” the announcement of the reopening reads, “To accommodate local health ordinances, we are limiting all groups to two throwers per private lane.” You’ll also need to wear a mask, of course.
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