Over the past year, I’d seen my friends post on Facebook about places where you could throw axes for fun and I thought, “Is this for real? People are actually allowed to throw sharp objects in public?”
I was intrigued.
Certainly, there had to be rules and procedures established in order to make this safe, right? I was curious to see for myself how this axe-throwing thing worked, but the closest place to throw axes was over an hour away at the time. But in February of this year, I came across a post in my Facebook feed announcing that axe throwing had arrived in Joplin!
Alex Menejias is the savvy businessman who seized the opportunity to add this activity at El Guapo’s Cigar & Pipe Lounge, making his establishment the only cigar lounge in the area that offers axe throwing.
El Guapo’s House of Axe is a new arm of the enterprise that Menejias created in 2016 when he introduced his cigar lounge to the area. I admit that I’d avoided checking out the cigar lounge because, as a nonsmoker, I didn’t think there wasn’t a reason for me to go.
Then came axe throwing.
El Guapo’s House of Axe
I’m glad that my curiosity about this unique activity got me in the door at El Guapo’s because I discovered that this establishment has definitely been operating under the radar. There are so many activities here that it feels like a playland for adults – but with a chill, loungy vibe.
Let’s begin with axe throwing. My husband Travis and I arrived at El Guapo’s on a Friday night, ready to de-stress from our busy week by hurling sharp objects through the air at a wooden target. It’s better than throwing things at each other, right?
When we entered El Guapo’s, Alex, the owner, greeted us from behind the bar. We told him we were interested in axe throwing and he asked if we had a reservation. We didn’t, but luckily we’d gotten there early enough in the evening that there was a spot available. If you’re interested in axe throwing, call ahead for a reservation because, according to Alex, “Lots of people like to get out their aggressions on a Saturday night.”
Or, in our case, on a Friday night.
El Guapo’s House of Axe is located on the second floor of this historic downtown building, right above the cigar lounge.
The cost for axe throwing for one hour is $20 per person. After paying for our session, signing waivers, and grabbing a couple of beers, we went upstairs to the cages. A floor monitor reviewed the rules with us (there’s a maximum of 3 drinks per person – smart rule), then walked us through the throwing process, which reminded me a lot of bowling in that you are assigned to a lane, then you take turns walking up to a line and hurling a heavy object.
I didn’t realize how heavy the axe would feel until I finally held it. I had imagined throwing the axe with the fierceness and precision of a warrior, but now I wasn’t too sure of myself. At three pounds, the axe wasn’t nearly as heavy as a bowling ball, but it felt weighty. Frankly, I was a bit intimidated.
But with gentle prodding from Travis and the floor monitor, I stepped up to the line. It was then that I realized that a pair of flip flops was not my best footwear choice, but I had stubbed my toe earlier that day and it was too swollen to fit into any other type of shoe. I blinked away thoughts of one of my little piggies being permanently severed from the rest of its family, focused on the target in front of me, and threw the axe.
I may have closed my eyes, which I’m 100% sure is a safety no-no. Nonetheless, my throw actually embedded the axe into the wood.
True, it was close to embedding in the wood floor – but it didn’t!
Travis, who’s always analyzing and strategizing (which is awesome if he’s on your team, and downright annoying if he’s your opponent) was up next.
He practiced the throwing positions, asking the floor monitor pertinent questions about hand placement and trajectory and blah, blah, blah. Finally, he threw the axe.
A bull’s eye on the first try?
It was my turn again. I tried to summon that warrior energy that I’d envisioned earlier. I focused intently on the target.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have focused so strongly because the target started to resemble the face of a sweet little inchworm caterpillar.
How could I hurl an axe at that?
Not very well, according to my throw…
Travis must not have seen the caterpillar’s face because he scored a couple more bull’s eyes (or sweet caterpillar noses, if you saw it through my eyes).
Our hour flew by and groups began arriving to take our place in the lane, so we moved on to the corn hole game area.
I was pretty pumped because I’m fairly adept at playing the corn hole toss. Thanks to the numerous trips we’ve taken to pumpkin patches with the kids over the years, where the corn hole toss seems to be a staple venues, I’m well-practiced.
Or so I thought.
Travis went first.
Guess what happened? His first toss went right in.
Did I mention that his cousin is a corn hole champion from southern Illinois (she’s been on ESPN playing this sport), so he might have some corn-hole-tossing skills in his DNA?
El Guapo’s Cigar & Pipe Lounge
We then went down to the first floor and did some activities at which I was more genetically compatible to Travis: pinball, shuffleboard, and billiards.
One thing that we didn’t try was El Guapo’s indoor golf simulator – the only one in the Joplin area.
It was fun to play all of these things in a relaxed atmosphere, and we agreed that this would be a fun place to come with our friends – we could socialize while we played. I also learned that El Guapo’s hosts monthly events like Comedy Night and Poker Night, giving us yet even more reasons to come back.
As far as purchasing refreshments goes, you can choose from wine and beer (there are more than 20 domestic and craft beer options) on the first floor of El Guapo’s; if you need more sustenance, there are snacks like chips and hot dogs to keep you going.
Well, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention the cigar lounge. You can begin your cigar-smoking experience by stepping into the walk-in humidor and browsing through over 100 cigar facings and selecting the perfect cigar just for you.
After that you can settle in to smoke in the first floor bar area, or if you’re interested in purchasing a membership, you can enjoy your cigar in this classy members-only lounge.
With a relaxed, lounge-like atmosphere and lots of activities for you and your friends to enjoy, El Guapo’s is a unique addition to Joplin’s nightlife scene.
El Guapo’s Cigar & Pipe Lounge is located at 532 South Joplin Avenue. If you’re interested in axe throwing, call 417-825-7700 to make a reservation. Click here to follow El Guapo’s on Facebook.
To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.