Axe throwing and good beer may sound like an odd combination. But at Stumpy’s Hatchet House it’s just another day.
Stumpy’s opened in Dec. of 2018 under the ownership of Mike Keeley and Jen Runyon. Back in 2017, they decided to leave their typical day jobs and open the sixth Stumpy’s nationwide. Their focus is as much on the social experience as it is on the axes.
Located on Grundy Drive in Bristol, Stumpy’s coaches help newcomers learn how to throw a hatchet.
“They are going to do coaching, they are going to make sure you’re safe, but they’re also going to make sure your party is having a good time,” Keeley said. “They’re going to make sure your drinks stay on ice, if you’re struggling organizing a tournament they’ll step in and organize it for you.”
That’s co-owner Mike Keeley, who built most of the tables and side games himself. But fellow co-owner Jen Runyon says you don’t have to drink to enjoy chucking a hatchet.
“So many times, people say ‘Well I don’t drink but I would love to come,'” Runyon said. “It’s just like bowling, you’re looking for something to do.”
For the average day, most visitors are with small groups with family or friends, or on a date night. While groups are often their largest at eight to ten, Stumpy’s recently hosted a group of 78 people.
Each group gets its own area. Even if just two people come in together, they can throw with the reassurance of a bit of privacy.
“You can imagine some scenarios,” Keeley said, illustrating the point. “If there’s a group of eight guys for a bachelor party, and then there’s a couple on their first date, now all of a sudden the first date is with the bachelor party.”
To make things a bit more fun, each pit has its own theme. “Pit-adelphia” has all the major Philly sports teams. “Pit Patriotic” has an American touch. Meanwhile, “Rel-axe-ing” is a space for bigger groups and corporate events.
Part of Stumpy’s appeal is versatility. People only drink if they want to (and there’s a limit), there’s handmade checkers, connect four, and Jenga for side games, and there’s only competition if throwers want it. Some have trouble hitting the bull’s-eye, while others practice regularly and throw the axe like a fastball.
Of course, with all the fun there are rules. Each coach will spend five minutes going over guidelines. All axes in a pit must be thrown before collecting them to avoid any accidents, and axes must go back in their holder – no handoffs.
For more information on Stumpy’s, check them out on their website here.