As far as sports are concerned, Pittsburgh is home to most of the conventional ones you would want to watch or even play yourself.
But in late 2017 a new sport came to Millvale- axe throwing. And at Lumberjaxes, you are sure to get your fill through a lane rental or tournament!
Axe Throwing Comes to Millvale
During our first visit to Lumberjaxes we tried a walk-in session- an hour long lane rental with two targets (one player per target).
In normal circumstances Lumberjaxes will provide an instructor to get you started; however, they were a bit slow when we visited so our instructor stayed with us the entire time. (As of publication we have not been able to confirm if this would hold true for all walk-in sessions when they are busier.)
The introduction includes showing you proper axe throwing technique and helping calibrate your position for how you throw (in a way, it is a lot like bowling). In about five or six throws we finally began getting the axe to stick to the board, and we were off.
As we were in a group of four, our instructor put us in sort of a mini tournament where Angie and I faced off, our friends faced off, and then the winners and losers faced off. I started off great, besting Angie in the first round of three, and my skill quickly fell apart while she took off becoming an ace axe thrower.
Ultimately Angie came in second place by a slim margin, while the two guys of the group ended up coming last- me at the very back, of course.
Thankfully our smack-talking instructor stayed with us the entire time and continued helping me improve my throws, and by the end I was starting to hit the target with even a few bulls-eyes thrown into the mix.
Not a bad start for our first axe throwing session!
Be Sure to Grab a Growler at Grist House
Weapons are almost always more fun when alcohol is involved, and at Lumberjaxes you are able to bring your own beer to enjoy in-between throwing.
This is one of the highlights of the venue to us because while you are not going to want to be impaired from drinking, there is something oddly satisfying in the progression of throwing few dozen axe throws, sipping a beer, and throwing more axes.
Will your skill get better, worse, or a mix of both? Well, that is hard to say. But as you can walk to Grist House in Millvale within just a few short steps (you can see it when you park), you really have no excuse not to bring something to drink!
Our Main Concern? The Price
As with most premium activities, cost is always of a concern to us. Generally speaking we can address most of these with a simple statement of relative value, but for Lumberjaxes we have to dive into it more as something felt a bit off.
You see, Lumberjaxes has two price points to consider.
For groups under six during the week (and eight on weekends), an hour-long lane rental costs $20 per person. If you go by yourself, you get an hour of axe throwing for $20. If you go as a couple, you get an hour of axe throwing for $40. If you go as a group of four, like we did, you get an hour of axe throwing for $80.
Likewise, for larger groups you can reserve lanes for a tournament style competition- a more robust version of what we did which lasts about 2.5 hours for $35 per person.
Our concern is that costs are on a per person basis regardless of how many people you have. This presents an interesting disparity when it comes to how many throws you can really get for that price due to the fact that each lane only has room for two axe throwers to play at any given time.
In our group of four I felt like the $20 per person price point was a bit much when you think about the fact that we only played for roughly 30 minutes per person. Compare that to the couple in the lane next to us who threw for every bit of 60 minutes without swapping, and you can understand how value is a bit more relative here than at most places.
If Lumberjaxes were to move to a fixed cost per lane pricing scheme we could certainly see us returning to this one more in the future; but the current pricing structure gives us reason to pause on an otherwise extremely enjoyable hour out in Millvale.
Lumberjaxes is located at 2 Sedgwick Street in Millvale, just a few blocks down through the overflow lot from Grist House. They have a second location at 1689 McFarland Road in Mt. Lebanon. Lumberjaxes is BYOB but do not arrive visibly intoxicated or else you may not be allowed to participate. Participants must be 18+, wear closed toed shoes, and sign a safety waiver.
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