MANSFIELD -- Emily and Erik Flick have long admired the vibrancy of the bars, shops and restaurants in Mansfield’s Carousel District. They thought only one thing was missing — a place for entertainment.

The Galion couple set out earlier this year to fill the void with an axe throwing center in the building next to Phoenix Brewery, at 123 N. Diamond St. They anticipate opening the AXE Social Lounge in early fall. 

If you’ve never heard of using an axe for anything other than splitting wood, think of axe throwing as a more exciting form of darts, or even bowling. 

To some, the idea of hurling a 1.5 lb axe at a target 12-feet away might seem intimidating, dangerous, or just plain odd, Emily Flick understands that, but the recreational sport’s growing popularity in nearby Cleveland and Columbus suggests it’s a viable entertainment option, too.

She says it’s a game anyone can enjoy — from pre-teens to adults, from people who dreaded gym class to serious athletes. 

“I’m not an athletic person, definitely a girly-girl, but the first time I went with my family, I won,” Emily said. “I like how much this sport levels the playing field for everybody. It’s more about skill than strength.” 

Emily adds that since discovering the game, she, her husband, and 11-year-old daughter regularly play together. It’s been a great alternative to electronics and technology-based games. Plus, it can be played year-round, no matter the weather. 

The Flicks envision people booking an hour or two in one of the eight lanes at the Axe Social Lounge as a night out with friends and family, as an after-work activity with co-workers for staff bonding or more. They hope to eventually create a competitive league night at the lounge. 

Emily offers reassurance that first-timers need not be nervous. In addition to receiving a tutorial on throwing techniques and safety regulations when customers arrive, a coach will also be available throughout the game to give pointers. Groups can throw for fun, keep score simply by tracking points on the marked targets, or try any number of more skilled games. 

Seating, including couches and tables will be available with the intention to make the space comfortable to relax. With so many bars and restaurants within walking distance, the Flicks have decided to have a bring-your-own policy on food and drinks. Beer or wine will be permitted, so long as it's brought and leaves in a sealed container.

Erik highlighted how he'd like to enhance the downtown scene, rather than compete against nearby bars and restaurants that he enjoys. 

"People could grab dinner at DLX, get a bottle of wine at Hudson and Essex, then come hang out with us for an hour," he said.  

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