Wicked Axe, Haverhill’s New Hatchet-Throwing Arena Readies for Public Opening

Wicked Axe owners Barbara and Shawn Gliklich look over interior construction at the 721 S. Main St., Bradford, venue. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Additional photographs below.

The Wicked Axe, a new hatchet-throwing arena, restaurant and bar in Haverhill’s Bradford section, is gearing up for its grand opening.

The venue—the first of its kind in the area—expects its occupancy permit from the city this week. In the month ahead, it plans a series of “sneak peeks” for first responders, such as fire, police, emergency medical service personnel, physicians, nurses and others on the front lines. Barbara Gliklich, half of the husband-and-wife team that owns the business, told WHAV that she and her husband Shawn were recently a nurse and physician respectively. As such, she explained, they have a special appreciation for those who have sacrificed so much during the pandemic.

“We’ve enjoyed our careers, but we were looking fort something that we could do for other people to make them smile and give them a great time and enjoy. I love entertaining. That was my dream,” she said.

Wicked Axe plans to take advantage of the growing international enthusiasm for axe throwing. Shawn said the sport had its beginning in Toronto, Canada, and spread across the United States.

“We came by it while visiting family in Salt Lake. We went to a venue, had a great time for an hour throwing axes. That spurred our interest in it,” he explained.

Wicked Axe celebrated a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday afternoon. Approved by the City Council and License Commission last February, Wicked Axe’s renovation and opening were stalled by the coronavirus pandemic. Barbara said construction finally went ahead during the summer.

“The place has been handcrafted—we’ve handcrafted this with our own hands—with a design team of amazing, talented artists,” she said.

The space features batting cage-like alleys for axe throwing with unfinished plank décor and hand-painted targets, large copper-top bar and an expansive dining area with a mural and rustic styling.

She credited City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua, who is also president of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, with helping cut utility red tape when it came time to have the electricity turned on.

Work began a year ago with city permitting, rental and gutting of the lower level of the former Barnboard Pub and later Club 125 space at 721 S. Main St., in Academy Plaza, 721 S. Main St., Route 125, Bradford.

Besides the interior space, an exterior facelift is also expected to be completed in the months ahead.

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