Axe-throwing venue wants a spot on Main Street in Denison

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
An outdoor wall sign marks the Denton location of The Horse's Axe. The axe-throwing venue plans to open a new location on Main Street in Denison some time in 2021.

Downtown Denison may soon get a new axe, and no, it isn't related to football.  The Denison and Planning and Zoning Commission is recommending approval of a conditional-use permit that would allow for a new axe throwing venue to open its doors on Main Street.

Representatives with The Horse's Axe said they hope to open up what will become a destination attraction for downtown, featuring axe throwing, billiards and other entertainment opportunities in 2021.

"There is not a specific axe-throwing venue anywhere up in this area — we've got one open in Denton," The Horse's Axe owner Michael Roberts. "Everything is tongue-in-cheek with axe throwing, and we the Horse's Axe and we plan to buy the building at 131 W. Main Street."

Roberts said current plans for the property include 10 axe-throwing , billiards and karaoke with beer and wine service. Future plans could include upstairs lofts and a potential restaurant that would work beside the other uses.

Representatives with The Horse's Axe plan to open a new axe-throwing venue in downtown Denison some time in mid-2021.

Axe throwing as a sport has gained popularity in the last half-decade. Schulman's Movie Bowl Grille in Sherman opened its doors in 2019 with multiple axe-throwing lanes.

However, Roberts said he plans the axe throwing to be the prime focus at his new venue rather than a side activity.

"It's something that has become more popular I'd say in the last three to four years," Roberts said. "The places are popping up, but most of them are in warehouse districts. So people are driving to these warehouse districts to throw axes, so they really are destinations."

Roberts learned about axe throwing when he visited a venue  based out of a warehouse in Austin a few years ago. While he enjoyed the sport, Roberts said he wanted to do it better.

"They weren't even selling bottles of water — it was just axe throwing," he said. "I could use a bottle of water right now, but I am not going to be getting it here."

Roberts said he envisions The Horse's Axe becoming a hangout spot and destination on Main Street where someone can grab a drink or play some pool while they wait for a lane to open up.

The name Horse's Axe comes from the long history of venue's making axe puns — particularly with another three letter word — in their names.

"My wife was looking up .coms and we were looking for things that we thought would be funny," Robert said. "Someone suggested the Horse's Axe and we thought there is no way that isn't taken.

"A few minutes later my wife tells me that is available and from there it just turned from one laugh to another."

The Denison location would be the second location for the company, following their first venue in Denton, which opened earlier this month. Roberts said work on the first location started in March, with plans to have a grand opening event on New Year's Eve.

The venue is requiring the city of Denison to rework its zoning ordinances. Under current ordinance, entertainment venues like the Horse's Axe are not allowed within the central downtown district, even with a conditional use permit.

The change to the ordinance is expected to be considered by the council during the same December meeting as the venue request.

If approved, Roberts said he plans to close on 131 W. Main on Dec. 31 and open some time near the Fourth of July.