The fashion statement in Old City this winter should include plenty of plaid, denim, and knit caps.
Kick Axe Throwing, a Brooklyn-based outfit, has targeted 232 Market St., giving the sport its first downtown home. (Other ax/axe venues include Urban Axes in Kensington, Bury the Hatchet in Southwest Center City as well as in various suburbs, Throw House in East Mount Airy, Chopper's Hatchet House in Cherry Hill, and Betty Border's House of Whacks in Doylestown.)
Kick Axe's new home at Market and Bank Streets was a Horn & Hardart's restaurant for decades before it became a hardware store and later a posh Stephen Starr restaurant called Tangerine from 2000 to 2009. Though Starr used it for training after shuttering it, the space has been empty since 2013.
Though Kick Axe has roots in Brooklyn and is opening soon in Washington, D.C., there's a Philly-area native behind it all. Bucks County's Ginger Flesher-Sonnier was a math teacher at Neshaminy High before she moved to Charleston, S.C., for another teaching job.
When her husband, Darren Sonnier, moved to Washington for work (he's a former Green Beret specializing in intelligence work), she traded the classroom for club ownership and opened two escape rooms in the D.C. area.
Business was so good, Flesher-Sonnier told me, that her husband joined her at her company, which also will open a game room called Throw Social above the soon-to-open Kick Axe in Washington. (Besides indoor curling, Throw Social will allow you to throw footballs and knock down bowling pins — footbowling, in other words.)
The Kick Axe here will serve wine and malt beverages only — "hard liquor doesn't mix with what we do," Flesher-Sonnier explains — as well as pizza and snacks such as hummus chips. "We're surrounded by a bajillion bars and restaurants," she said, and hopes that she can arrange food delivery to her patrons.
She said she plans to keep the sophisticated lighting that Starr installed. Decor, however, will take on a lodge feel.
She said she hopes to open in December. A peek through the front window suggests 2019 — if you ax me.