JJ’s Axes & Ales opens in new location

July 13, 2020

There’s more space for ax throwing, lots of beverage options and a cocktail lounge just steps away from the new JJ’s Axes & Ales location.

The ax-throwing business owned by Tom Slattery of JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars opened a couple of years ago in the previous JJ’s location on Western Avenue after the store moved to a large, new location at 3000 W. 57th St. a couple of years ago.

Now, Axes & Ales’ new location is in the same retail center as JJ’s, which also includes Creative Surfaces Countertops & Tile/Cambria and Tan on Demand & Specialty Suites.

“We’re really pleased with it,” Slattery said. “While we didn’t gain more square footage, we gained more usable square footage by almost double. It was designed specifically for this purpose, where in the old building we had to repurpose the space we had.”

The new location allows for six ax-throwing lanes with two targets per lane, accommodating groups of up to 10 at each lane when at full capacity.

It’s starting out with less, though, as a COVID-19 precaution and limiting groups to six while using four lanes in any given time slot to make sure people are distanced apart.

“When we get to full capacity, it allows us to have more people in the facility in general than before because occupancy is higher, and we can entertain different groups in specific time slots because we have more lanes at our disposal,” Slattery said, adding that Friday and Saturday evenings had become challenged to accommodate demand.

Axes & Ales offers four beers on tap, mostly from local breweries, along with domestic cans and bottles, and hard seltzers.

More beverages, before or after throwing, are just a walk away at JJ’s 3.0 Cocktail Bar, though.

Hours for ax-throwing slots are from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

“We did this intentionally because we don’t want to be a late-night establishment. We want people to have their fun and find other places like the 3.0 Cocktail Bar to finish their night,” Slattery said.

While ax throwing entered the Sioux Falls market with multiple new locations several years ago, Slattery said it’s more than a trend.

“I think done right it has a lot of staying power because there are people who will use it for one-off events, but a certain majority will find it alluring and interesting,” he said. “The way we built this facility with TVs in every lane so you can watch sports I think will encourage people to stay longer.”

Construction was a family project, with Slattery’s brother, Nick, completing the job through his business AMS Building Systems, based in Vermillion.

The family connection also likely will lead to the next of several locations for JJ’s Axes & Ales.

“Vermillion will probably be the next location we’ll target, mostly because Nick is there and is building a building that could accommodate this concept,” Slattery said.

“What we’ve built in this facility is a duplicatable concept in other markets. We don’t think there’s a market for more ax throwing in this town, but there’s definitely a market outside of town. We’re looking at Vermillion, Pierre, Brookings, Aberdeen, Watertown, as possible locations.”

The grand opening for the Sioux Falls location will run July 21-25.

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JJ’s Axes & Ales opens in new location

There’s more space for ax throwing, lots of beverage options and a cocktail lounge just steps away from the new JJ’s Axes & Ales location.

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