Axes were flying on Thursday, inaugurating Yuba City’s newest bar and entertainment hub: Axe Me Yuba City.
Axe Me is an axe throwing bar located at 651 North Palora in the Carriage Square shopping center behind Plumas Bank. The facility is currently touted to be the largest axe throwing venue in Northern California.
Alongside its 14 axe throwing lanes, the central tap room offers the largest selection of beer at any bar found in both Yuba and Sutter counties with over 90 beer, seltzer, and cider products to choose from. For now, Axe Me only offers drinks and snacks, but guests are welcome to bring in their own food.
Owners William Zapata and Paul Basi teamed up to open this unique experience after handling several other successful businesses. The idea started when Zapata’s fiance became pregnant and the couple began searching for things they could do together.
“We went to Top Golf, and she didn’t really like it,” said Zapata. “So then we went to Lincoln to Get Axed and had a blast and I figured we needed that in town.”
Zapata is a young, self taught entrepreneur who is also the current owner of Best Coast Bulldogs and the CEO of Bud Brothers, the biggest cannabis delivery service out of Colusa. At just 28 years old, Axe Me is the fifth business added to this Wheatland resident’s resume.
Basi, a former Yuba City educator, now does farming and is the owner of a staffing employment agency known as PrideStaff which services Yuba, Sutter, Colusa, Yolo, and Sacramento counties. The two met at the gym around eight years ago and Basi said Zapata helped him a lot during his 2018 campaign to represent District 3 as a Sutter County Supervisor.
“William and I had been talking about doing some kind of business together for a while,” said Basi. “When he brought this concept to me I was immediately on board because I knew it was going to be a success. It’s a needed venue in our community which really doesn’t have a lot of entertainment options.”
Opening Axe Me took about a year and half of planning. While permits and safety concerns might seem like the biggest hurdle, Zapata and Basi said the real struggles related to COVID-19 and ongoing supply chain issues.
Now that the red tape has been hacked through, families and guests can enjoy 5,600 square feet of axe throwing fun along with a selection of arcade and board games. Axe Me is an all ages venue, however the minimum axe throwing age is 12 and those under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The game is set up similar to bowling with each axe lane having its own computer and projector. Players select or type in their special “axe name,” and then choose from a selection of games and targets. Some of the choices include zombie heads, duck hunting, tic-tac-toe christmas themes, or a traditional bullseye. Staff introduce guests to the basics of axe throwing and ensure each participant understands the rules and safety regulations prior to starting their game.
Rex Mertes, Axe Me’s floor manager, made his rounds to each party and offered tips on getting the best axe throwing technique.
“I walk around and make sure everyone’s smiling and having fun,” said Mertes. “It’s a fun hobby and I enjoy the fast pace of working here.”
Mertes has a strong background in paintball and decided the axe throwing world would be another exciting job to fit his personality. Zapata and Basi said they’ve been very proud of their first hire, and that Mertes has some excellent coaching skills.
“It’s not about strong-arming it,” explained Mertes. “It’s about the rotation and technique.”
Axe Me is open from 4 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Friday. Weekend hours are from noon to midnight. Reservations are recommended but walk-in’s are always welcome. The last reservation or walk-in slot will be available two hours before closing each day.