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Newington's booze-friendly ax venue set

BY Joe Cooper

8/10/2018
PHOTO | Montana Nights
PHOTO | Montana Nights
Montana Nights will open Aug. 15 at 80 Fenn Road in Newington.
New England's largest ax-throwing facility and the region's first to sell alcohol is set to open next week in Newington.

Merle McKenzie, owner of the 7,800-square-foot Montana Nights at 80 Fenn Road, near the West Hartford border, said Connecticut's second ax-throwing venue opens Aug. 15.

Ax-throwing, like darts, is a sport where players throw an ax at a target to hit the bull's-eye for additional points. The medieval game is gaining popularity across the U.S., with locations in Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and at least four opening by year-end in Massachusetts.

Connecticut's first ax-throwing site, Pine & Iron, was opened in early June by a pair of Millennials in Hartford's Parkville neighborhood.

McKenzie received local zoning approval in the spring and planned to open in July, but was delayed renovating his lumberjack-themed space that includes 14 targets split into seven ranges. The venue also features a bar, lounge areas, pool tables and arcade games.

Montana Nights recently received a state tavern license and will sell more than 40 selections of beer, wine and cider in cans or disposable cups. McKenzie previously received a special permit from Newington's Planning and Zoning Commission to allow alcohol sales. Liquor will not be sold.

McKenzie says he has 12 workers and may hire more than 20 employees as the business develops.

Throwing coaches will be stationed at each lane as guests under age 21 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants must be at least 10 years old.