Hatchet Jack’s is open

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Hatchet Jack’s, July 6, 2018. — photo by Jordan Sellergren

Update, July 13, 2018: Hatchet Jack’s has its grand opening today. Lanes may be booked online, with up to four patrons in each of the 12 lanes. A two-hour session costs $35 per person; groups of 1-3 may rent lanes for an hour at $20 per person. Non-throwing spectators pay a $10 fee. Groups are encouraged to arrive 15-20 minutes before their session is scheduled to begin. More information can be found at

The wait is finally over for those wanting to indulge their inner lumberjack: Hatchet Jack’s is open. The hatchet-tossing bar, located in Gateway One Plaza on Highway One in the space formerly occupied by Family Video, started its soft opening on Thursday. It’s grand opening will be next Friday — Friday the 13th. It’s not a traditional day for a grand opening, but then, hatchet-tossing isn’t a traditional bar activity in these parts.

“It’s something different than anything that’s around Iowa City,” Nick Carroll, one of the bar’s owners, told Little Village while Hatchet Jack’s was still under construction.

Axe-tossing bars have been popping up across the country over the past year. They originated — naturally enough — in Canada, where beer and lumberjack-related activities are both very popular, then migrated south. Axe- and hatchet-tossing bars can now be found from Brooklyn to Las Vegas.

“When you walk in, there will be someone at the front desk to register you, and have you sign the insurance waivers and so forth,” Carroll explained. “In the back, we’ll have a couple of ‘axe-perts,’ who walk you through and give you the general idea [of hatchet tossing]. They’ll also be around to help you, if you get stuck.”

Hatchet Jack’s will serve beer and wine, and be open to those 18 and older. Under 21s will get a red wristband, while those 21 and older will get green ones. The green wrist bands will have three spaces that can be marked, so bar staff can keep track of how much someone has had to drink.

“Obviously we don’t want anyone to be intoxicated when throwing the hatchets, but we do want people to be able to relax and enjoy a beer or a glass of wine,” Carroll said.

Hatchet Jack’s hours are 4-10 p.m., Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, it opens at 4 p.m. and stays open until midnight. Weekend hours accommodate the lunchtime hatchet crowd: 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

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