(tncms-asset)6e76df26-e4e8-5e03-9595-dde5c3e0a2210 —(/tncms-asset)It’s humid inside the building where, in less than two weeks, an ax-throwing venue and escape room will open its doors to the public at Monument and Franklin streets.
Owner Christie Wall, general manager Kevin Moore, employees and contractors put up fencing and painted at the ax-throwing lanes, pieced together a glass mosaic of a bear, cleaned equipment, and cleaned and sealed the floor at the business Sunday morning.
“I was here until 1 a.m. Sunday morning —,” Moore said during a break from installing fencing to separate ax-throwing lanes. “I’ll probably be here until 1 a.m. again.”
The passionate and dedicated crew has quite a bit of work ahead of them before they open Grizzly’s Hatchet House and River Escapes on Aug. 16. A ribbon “chopping” ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. that day, just before the business opens at noon.
Lumber, ladders and equipment take up some of the space inside the building, and ax-throwing targets adorn the walls. Fencing separates each throwing lane.
In the other side of the building, a maze makes up the area where the escape rooms will be.
The Danville Register & Bee got to test its ax-throwing chops for the first time during a sneak peek of the venue.
Each ax weighs about 1¼ to 2 pounds.
“They don’t weigh much at all,” Moore said.
The two-handed throw has a right-handed participant put their left foot forward and with their dominant hand above the other at the ax’s handle.
A reporter with the Register & Bee hit the bull’s-eye on his first try. Subsequent tosses weren’t as successful, with the ax bouncing off the target and falling to the floor.
Each game has three rounds, with five throws per round, Moore said. The bull’s-eye is five points, the red ring is three points and the blue ring is one.
Green dots at each side above the target are seven points each. The player can attempt to hit one of those by calling what is known as “clutch.” However, if the ax hits the target below instead, the participant gets no points — even if it hits the bull’s-eye.
Grizzly’s Hatchet House and River City Escapes began construction in a former tobacco warehouse at 680 Lynn St., Suite J — the corner of Monument and Franklin streets — in March.
Wall and Moore have hoped to open this summer, battling the heat and keeping floor fans running inside the building while they work.
The ax throwing area will have five lanes, with each lane featuring two targets. There will be a coach in each lane, whose job will include ensuring anyone who’s had too much to drink does not participate.
“The game play is controlled by the ax coach,” Moore said, adding coaches will be trained in first aid.
There will be a strict demarcation between the areas for ax throwers and non-participants. A wall will be between each lane, with about 12 to 15 feet from the throwing spot to the target. Within each lane, a short wall between each target will deflect bouncing axes.
The ax throwing and escape room business also will serve beer, wine, sandwiches, pizza and bar food including bacon cheddar fries, chili and cornbread, corn chips and other items.
Bar manager Cody Weiss said there will be about a dozen taps, with a rotating list of craft beers on draft.
“We’re really focusing on craft beer,” Weiss said. “We’re going to rotate the beer, trying to have new stuff coming in constantly.”
The venue also will include a lounge and game area with tables for checkers, chess, cards and other games, Wall said.
As for the escape room part of the business, there will be four rooms with their own themes — The Wreck of the Old ’97 (a train that crashed in Danville in 1903), the Rabbit Hole from “Alice in Wonderland,” an asylum and a heist-themed section including a laser maze to test agility, Wall said.
Wall did not want to reveal too much about the escape rooms.
The “Alice in Wonderland” room features text from the Rabbit Hole chapter on the walls of a room, while the asylum-themed option involves participants becoming the guinea pig for a demented character. But there will be little blood.
“We’re going for the mental thriller, not the gory feature,” Wall said.
Old ’97 players will try to stop the train from crashing, and the heist game will be similar to something from the movie, “Mission Impossible,” with participants dodging lasers, Wall said.
“You’ll be timed to see how fast you can get through it,” she said.
For ax-throwing, reservations are encouraged. Walk-ins are welcome as long there is a lane open, Moore said.
Reservations can be made at grizzlyshatchet.com.
Ax throwing is $20 per hour per person and the escape room is $25 — except for the heist room, which will be cheaper.
Hours will be noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. It will be closed Sunday and Monday.