Ax-throwing lounge approved in Pleasanton

With permit secured, Limitless hopes to open bar/game venue by end of year

The Tri-Valley could see its first ax-throwing lounge opening this winter after the Pleasanton Planning Commission signed off on a use permit for the new recreational game venue on Wednesday night.

Aiming to capitalize on the growing popularity of ax-throwing as a hobby or evening-out activity, Michael Hill -- who also operates Limitless Escape Games in Livermore -- plans to open Limitless Axes & Ales in the Valley Plaza shopping center, inside the tenant suites currently occupied by Monument Car Parts.

"For us, Pleasanton is the absolute perfect spot for an ax-throwing lounge," Hill told the Weekly after the meeting.

"There is a major gap in the entertainment segment, and I feel the people who live in Pleasanton want something to call their own since most entertainment activities are in neighboring Tri-Valley cities Another reason is that we really focus on catering to large corporate team building events," he added.

Ax-throwing, which is more common in Canada and the eastern United States, involves individual participants in fenced-in lanes tossing an ax toward target rings on a wooden board to accrue points based on the blade's distance from the center. With some highly competitive tournaments broadcast on ESPN and streaming platforms, ax-throwing has also been showcased locally the past few years at the annual Scottish Games.

The Pleasanton Municipal Code does not specifically contemplate an ax-throwing lounge as a commercial use, but city staff classified it akin to bowling alley, pool hall and indoor bocce court -- a business category that requires a conditional use permit approved by the Planning Commission.

The conversation before the commission on Wednesday evening centered on the proposed location, safety standards and operational strategy of the proposed lounge, according to assistant city manager Brian Dolan.

Limitless Axes & Ales would occupy Suites A and B in the multi-tenant commercial building at the western edge of Valley Plaza, which is located at the northwest corner of Santa Rita Road and Valley Avenue.

In the 4,300 square feet, the lounge would feature seven throwing lanes, a bar serving beer and wine, seating areas, a lobby and restrooms. Each lane would be fenced in to prevent thrown axes from going into other lanes or elsewhere in the building.

There would be two throwers at a time, hurling the ax end-over-end toward different targets watched by an employee. A viewing area behind the lane could accommodate up to 10 people total.

"As proposed, the activity would be heavily monitored for safety by the applicant who would have a coach assigned to each lane in operation who would provide step-by-step directions to all participants on how to throw an ax as well as monitor safety regulations," city associate planner Jennifer Hagen wrote in her staff report.

Hill presented to the commissioners about his operational plan for Limitless Axes & Ales and answered their questions about proposed safety standards and other topics, according to Dolan.

The commission also heard from two residents of the nearby Danbury Park area who raised concerns about an ax-throwing lounge opening close to their neighborhood, Dolan said.

In the end, the commission voted 4-1 to approve the use permit and associated operational conditions as recommended by city staff, while also adding a condition limiting alcohol sales to two servings per patron per hour.

Commissioner Nancy Allen dissented, generally opposed to the lounge opening in a neighborhood shopping center (rather than, say, an industrial park) and the potential danger of the activity, especially when coupled with drinking.

The operator hopes to open the business by the end of December, according to Hagen.

A manager at Monument Car Parts -- the tenant currently operating in the space (1809 Santa Rita Road, Suites A and B) -- said Friday the store remains in business and he had no information on lease negotiations nor a potential closing or relocation.

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19 people like this
Posted by Mitch
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2019 at 6:36 pm

kicking out monument for an ax throwing lounge (whatever that is) seems short sided.

19 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 18, 2019 at 10:36 pm

I prefer monument

7 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2019 at 8:04 am

Short sided? I think you mean short sighted, as in lacking foresight.

4 people like this
Posted by Vigy
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Aug 19, 2019 at 9:34 am

Vigy is a registered user.

Nobody fixes their own cars anymore.

3 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2019 at 10:11 am

This looks like a fun place. I've seen these in other cities. Looking forward to it!

6 people like this
Posted by Pinkie
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 19, 2019 at 10:26 am

You wait...first axe accident of a body part and the place is history

8 people like this
Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 19, 2019 at 10:36 am

I’m neutral on axe-throwing, although it seems like a niche thing that doesn’t have to be right in the center of a mid-town shopping center. We’ll have to see how the drinking/rowdy game-playing plays out here. I will definitely miss having Monument car parts there! They have been super helpful with several of my cars, saving me a lot of money on simple replacements/repairs that would have been really costly to have done by a shop. Seems like kind of bad-faith dealings by the commercial landlord (surprise surprise) with no notification that their lease wouldn’t be renewed.

7 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 19, 2019 at 12:01 pm

The real story is that a local auto parts store is getting kicked out of their spot! Where's Monument going? What a horrible way for a tenant to hear they are being kicked out. Note to the axe have a snake for a landlord.

6 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm

The article doesn't portray the facts. The lease was up for Monument (not getting kicked out), and the owner of Monument has known about the potential of a new tennant for months. They were obviously waiting for the conditions to be lifted. Also, it is the responsibility of Monument's owner to notify employees as they see fit.

8 people like this
Posted by Lots of people fix their cars
a resident of Danbury Park
on Aug 19, 2019 at 12:57 pm

and Monument does a great job, at a fair price.

They also provide good guidance, and if they don't have it, usually they will order it for you, or get it from another store.

I certainly hope they do not move or close.

AND ax throwing with "only 2 drinks per hour" sounds like a recipe for disaster!

2 people like this
Posted by Sandra
a resident of Danbury Park
on Aug 19, 2019 at 2:26 pm

I went to one of these places in New York. It was very safe and monitored. We also had a "coach" which taught us how to throw. I actually did really well and had a glass of Chardonnay, too. Welcome to the neighborhood!

2 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 19, 2019 at 2:30 pm

This sounds like a total blast! What a fun business concept! Pleasanton desperatley needs more entertianment venues lik this. Will be a great place to bring my company for team building, and a uniqe date night for my wife and I! Can't wait!

2 people like this
Posted by Britney
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Aug 19, 2019 at 2:34 pm

This is AMAZING for Pleasanton! Will be great for other Pleasanton businesses too like the resatuarnts nearby. I know residents have been wanting more fun venues to come to the city and this is going to be great fun! My kids can't wait to visit and have their birthday party here!

2 people like this
Posted by Rich
a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 19, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Seems fun!

10 people like this
Posted by PleasRes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2019 at 3:06 pm

PleasRes is a registered user.

Why do we [removed] need this? Alcohol and axe throwing—problem??? Ya think????

9 people like this
Posted by Susie sunshine
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2019 at 3:52 pm

Yay!! Get drunk at Sunshine Saloon and meander over to the ax throwing place. Do they monitor how much you’ve had before you get there? Sad about Monument Car parts.

2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 19, 2019 at 9:35 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Speak for yourself.

5 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 19, 2019 at 9:42 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

I'm pretty sure that they won't allow "drunks" to throw an ax. If they did then their insurance, which is probably high, would be cancelled. I hope they also include knife throwing...bring your own Ka-Bar, but what we really need is a nice indoor shooting range that is reasonably priced for both firearms and co2.

5 people like this
Posted by Allan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2019 at 8:34 am

I have been to the one in Berkely. You can't just wander in drunk an pick up an ax. LOL . You can however do that at any Home Depot or even the Ace Hardware across the street and no one would bat an eye :) BTW I will miss Monument, but it is getting pretty run down.

6 people like this
Posted by Kristine
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Aug 20, 2019 at 2:31 pm

Oh Yes Pleasanton, just what we need....A bar, that breeds drunks every weekend, then they can go over and throw Axes...Yeah...Great Job. What a Joke

Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 20, 2019 at 3:02 pm

I love the idea. Finally something to do in Pleasanton!

Like this comment
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Aug 20, 2019 at 3:04 pm

I think they're open similar to restaurant hours. When my kids come to visit we can do this as a family.

Like this comment
Posted by Axe Kicker
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 20, 2019 at 3:05 pm

Woohoo! Love this!!!!

2 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 20, 2019 at 10:39 pm

So the real snake is Monuments owner who left his staff hanging, so they could find out they are being let go via Ptown Weekly? I'm probably not a fan of the owner or the landlord.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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