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Axe throwing just the tip of fun planned for Westland leisure venue

 Axe throwing just the tip of fun planned for Westland leisure venue

Julia Hudspeth winds up for a throw during a recent visit to The Legendary Axe.

Patrons of Westland’s The Legendary Axe tossed the bar’s sharp-edged namesake tools at wooden bull’s-eyes while sipping craft beers and munching on top-level bar fare Thursday night.

They shared fist bumps and laughter when the axes found their circular targets, sticking solidly into the wood; and they cringed (and laughed) when the hatchets struck the walls awkwardly and dropped harmlessly to the floor.

“I’ve scored a bunch of zeroes, but the one bull’s-eye I did get felt really, really good,” said Canton resident Holly Teague, a first-time axe-thrower. “There was a little anxiety involved before I threw it for the first time because, well, you’re handling a sharp-edged object, not a bowling ball or a golf club. But our coach — T-Rex — gave us great advice on how to do it properly. It’s a lot of fun. I’ll be back, for sure.”

Sitting on a stool in front of an unused set of throwing lanes not far from the epicenter of the fun, owner Cody Bailey revealed how the 42,000-square-foot former roller-skating facility (Skateland) that houses the 3,500-square-foot axe-throwing bar was about to be transformed into a one-of-a-kind (at least for western Wayne County) entertainment venue.

“We’re ultimately going to offer three bars in this building: The Legendary Axe, a New Orleans Bourbon Street-themed bar call Voodoo Blues and a third bar (still unnamed) that will have more of a speak-easy theme,” the ambitious Bailey explained. “Our guests will be able to bar hop to different-themed bars without ever leaving the building.”

Bourbon Street bar is mind-blowing cool

Walking into the jaw-dropping Voodoo Blues space, which sits just a long, secluded hallway from the axe-throwing bar, is like being dropped onto Bourbon Street. The bar — set to open sometime this spring — is framed by 20-foot-high facades with New Orleans-style balconies.

Soon-to-open Voodoo Blues hosted a popular New Year's Eve Party that attracted close to 500 people.
Soon to open Voodoo Blues hosted a popular New Years Eve Party that attracted close to 500 people

Hanging over the drink-serving area, there’s even a slick neon “Humpty Dumpty Hotel” prop that was used in the HBO Max movie “No Sudden Move”.

“I have friends who work on movies, so we’re able to buy some pretty cool props,” Bailey said.

Bailey hosted a New Year’s Eve party on the Voodoo Blues set that attracted an estimated 500 people, some from as far away as the Upper Peninsula.

“It was quite a party,” Bailey said, smiling. “We hired burlesque dancers, magicians. Some people drove hours for the party and spent the night at a hotel.”

Proven career in entertainment

A graduate of New Boston Huron High School, Bailey — who split his childhood between the Westland area and the Downriver region of southeast Michigan following his parents’ divorce — earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Albion College before working as a lobbyist in Lansing.

He purchased Skateland in 2015, operating the roller-skating and an incredibly popular haunted house during the weeks leading up to Halloween.

A fire devastated much of the building in March of 2018, forcing Bailey to pivot to his current passion: creating an entertainment space that will attract customers from near and far.

His family operated a haunted house on Ford Road in Westland before shifting it to the Skateland facility. The family’s spooky set-ups annually appear on southeast-Michigan’s top haunted house lists.

“Working in the haunted house industry for over 10 year, I learned there always has to be a storyline, a theme behind everything I build,” Bailey said. “It’s easier to build something if you have a theme to work around.

“What I enjoy best about this is offering a completely different guest experience for the people who visit my businesses. I usually come up with the baseline ideas and then I work with my year-round creative team to hammer out the details.”

Bailey said an estimated 40,000 people ventured through his Westland haunted house this past autumn.

Gaining traction

The Legendary Axe owner Cody Bailey.
The Legendary Axe owner Cody Bailey

The Legendary Axe is gaining some serious traction among local fun-seekers, thanks in large part to the exquisite details Bailey has incorporated into his place.

“A lot of people come in who have been to other axe-throwing bars and they tell us the other places can’t compare to our place,” Bailey said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t just throw some boards up. Everything in here was carefully thought out, from floor to ceiling.

“And this place isn’t just for axe throwing. We have a great menu of food that we’re currently in the process of expanding and we always have at least eight craft beers and cocktails that we rotate. We come up with new flavors, based on the seasons.”

For those who might feel a tad anxious about heaving an axe down a lane, Bailey offered some calming assurances.

“Don’t be scared, it’s a lot of fun, which everyone figures out once they try it,” he said. “We have coaches who walk first-timers through the how-to process. We follow strict safety protocols. And there’s more to do here than just throw axes. We offer a completely different environment for this area. If you’re looking for a unique night out, check us out.”

Throwers are fitted with right-sized axes depending on their height and the depth of the lanes. While the business has over 100 axes available on-site — they’re sharpened regularly and the handles are replaced when needed — some elite throwers will bring their own axes.

Patrons wait their turn to throw inside The Legendary Axe in Westland.
Customers wait their turn to throw inside The Legendary Axe in Westland

Bailey said The Legendary Axe is a member of the World Axe Throwing League and is on the verge of hosting leagues in Westland.

“We just wanted to open and get our bearings before we started bringing in leagues,” Bailey said.

For more information on The Legendary Axe, visit its website here.

If you would like your business featured on southeast Michigan’s No. 1 source for good news, please contact Ed Wright at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com. 

 

 

 

 

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