New Glasgow axe-throwing bar gets alcohol licence

A new bar where visitors can try their hand at axe throwing has been handed a licence to sell alcohol – after bosses insisted the venue would be safe.

The bar will be in the St Enoch shopping centre.

Boom Battle Bar is set to open in the St Enoch Centre — and will also allow guests the chance to play nine-hole crazy golf, table tennis and AR magnetic darts.

Niall Hassard, representing the bar, said customers taking part in the axe throwing are not allowed to drink alcohol, must be over 18 and will need to take a breathalyser test.

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There is a safety briefing and independent risk assessments have been carried out, he added.

The company, which has bars across the UK and is investing £1.2m in its Glasgow venue, has now been granted a provisional premises licence by the city’s licensing board.

Mr Hassard said: “Traditional bricks and mortar retail in Scotland and elsewhere is struggling, and city centres are looking to diversify the offer they have and retain footfall within the city centre.

“The concept is something which is growing in popularity and is known as competitive socialisation.

“The idea is you don’t just go out for going out sake, it’s not the alcohol that is the draw, it’s the ability to turn up at the venue with your friends, specifically for the purpose of taking part in the games and activities.

“While there you might grab a bite to eat, there’s craft beers, there is a full food menu, but the draw is the client brings a fun, safe, vibrant space for you to socialise.”

The licensing board heard how 89 per cent of visits are pre-booked, and all axe throwers must book in advance.

Axe throwing, which costs £60 per lane for an hour, takes place in lanes, which are caged on three sides and the roof. A maximum of six people can book one lane.

The floor is covered with a gym mat and tyre chippings to prevent ricochets, and the instructor retrieves thrown axes.

Mr Hassard said the activity is led by instructors, who undergo an in-house training programme.

He added: “Customers have to take a breathalyser, if they fail the breathalyser or refuse the breathalyser, they are not permitted to throw the axes and they’re given a full refund.

“There is a waiver that the customers have to read and sign and there’s a safety briefing which lasts between eight and ten minutes.”

“All of the risk assessments have been vetted and agreed with their insurers.”

Cllr Margaret Morgan asked whether staff had “extensive first aid” training.

Allan Cook, head of operations at Boom Battle Bar, said there is “extensive pre-opening training”.

“Part of that training is a two day first aid course run by St John’s Ambulance where our insurers insist a third of our team are trained in first aid.

“Then on every shift there is a trained first aider, again at the insistence of our insurers.”

Cllr Bill Butler said: “When I first saw this I had a recollection of a long lost film from my childhood, The Vikings, starring Kirk Douglas.

“If you’ve ever seen that and the axe throwing in that particular film, then you would be filled with apprehension.

“However, this seems much more controlled and it is part of competitive socialisation, whatever that means.”

He asked whether it was possible to have an alcoholic drink after the breathalyser test, in between axe throws. The bar’s representatives said no alcohol would be served to people participating in axe throwing.

There was no objection from Police Scotland to the licence application, and officers will be invited to assess the venue before it opens.

The bar will be able to open from 11am to midnight, with children allowed in until 7pm.