Watch: Inside The Hilt – York’s first indoor axe-throwing venue

Axe men: Josh Goodwin (left) and Alex Cronin. Photographs: Richard McDougall
18 Sep 2019 @ 7.44 pm
| Entertainment, Food & drink

There is something ridiculously satisfying about hurling an axe and hearing the ‘thunk’ as it cleaves into a piece of wood.

That is what you discover soon after your arrival at The Hilt in York.

And everyone can try it from tomorrow (Thursday 19 September). That’s when The Hilt, York’s first indoor axe throwing venue, opens its doors.

Believe us when we say this is about to become the city’s favourite new activity. With ten lanes, set out in five bays, as many as 60 people at a time can take part in an axe throwing game, trying to hit the wooden target from behind the red line.

You score three points for a bullseye, going down to one point if you hit the outer circle.

Strike the red dots in the top corners and you get a full seven points – the ‘kill shots’.

Anyone aged 13 and over can play.

How it began

Each bay has two lanes
The Hilt is the brainchild of Alex Cronin and Josh Goodwin.

Alex ran the 4Swings bar in Spark:York and wanted a new, permanent food and drink venue. He looked round the former Savers shop on Goodramgate, only to think it’s way too big.

Then he had a phone call from Josh. He said:

  • I lived in the States, I had done axe throwing there. I thought it was a really good idea to put it in York because of the Viking heritage, and there’s a lot of event-specific activities here.

    I rang Alex, and he said, ‘are you kidding me? I’m thinking of making a move right now’ – so we combined the ideas.

A mere six months later The Hilt is opening, creating 12 jobs.

Discount codes

It costs £25 per person for a full hour.

But we have discount codes!

50% off for launch day only (Thursday 19 September)

30% off for throughout September

And you can eat too

The Viking styling on Goodramgate
You can eat here without playing, and can play without eating – but food is very much part of the experience.

The Hilt

The dishes are Nordic inspired. Viking meatballs in a variety of flavours (£6.50) fried pickles and Nordic nachos are all on the menu.

They don’t have an alcohol licence yet. But soft drinks include mocktails, lavender lemonade and a chocolate and pineapple soda.

And even if the bar licence follows, it’s never going to be a drinking venue says Josh:

  • Our focus is never about you coming here to drink.

    This is an experience-based activity which millennials through to older individuals are interested in doing.

    This is a more full experience than just going and getting blasted in the bars.

Alex says it could be a great start to a night out. “We’re looking to be the beginning of your big event.

“So if you’re in York on a stag or a hen do or something like that and going for a big meal later on, the idea is that you have your activity here first before you go out drinking. And you have your starter course, essentially.

How it works

It’s £25 per player per hour.

Practice (20 min)
Players are given 20 minutes to warm up and practice. Coaches work with each individual, ensuring everyone is trained and comfortable. Players will learn single and two-handed throwing.

Competition (40 min)
It’s friendly. It’s fierce. And it goes something like this.

  • Two Vikings throw at the same time.
  • Each player throws an equal number of times per round.
  • Players score each time their axe sticks the target.
  • Total highest score crowns the Viking or Viqueen at the end.