Sara Jespersen, owner of the recently opened Lumberjack Axe Throwing Bar at 123 Second St. N., is all about creating engaging experiences.

“As a bar owner, I don’t drink much but love going out and socializing,” said Jespersen, who also owns several fitness facilities. “When people are playing games together, people tend to learn a lot about each other without having to create a bunch of small talk.”

Jespersen’s love for games, and natural interest in Stillwater’s lumberjack history, provided the inspiration for the new bar and social hub. With a swank, cabin-like atmosphere and a variety of food, drinks and other games, Jespersen said that The Lumberjack is intended to be a place where people can hang out, linger and be social.

“We want to provide a place for locals to hang out and feel welcome,” Jespersen said.

Axe throwing is the main event at The Lumberjack, an activity that requires a fair amount of hand-eye coordination and attention to throwing form. Before playing, each participant is required to sign a waiver and pays $25 to throw axes at circular wood targets for one hour, while groups of 10 or more are charged $20 per person. Axe throwing leagues also recently started. Coaches in each of the five pits guide a group through the process of throwing safely as well as teach different games and scorekeeping.

Shuffleboard and board games are also located throughout the bar, and Jespersen said she is open to having game nights dedicated to the most popular choices.

The food menu features the creations of The Velveteen, a partnership that Jespersen values for their healthy options and local ingredients. Each item has a quirky name that is a reference to a show, movie or family inside joke. For example, the “How You Doin’” – a sandwich on sourdough bread that includes Gouda cheese, prosciutto, salami and pesto – is a reference to Joey from the show, “Friends.”

Drink options are also locally focused, with a wide range of craft and domestic beer, wine and cocktails.

Since opening on Dec. 21, Jespersen said that community reception “has been really good” so far. The bar plans to use its mobile units to provide axe throwing at Lumberjack Days as well as other community events.

The Lumberjack is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday, 3 p.m. to midnight on Saturday and 3 to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Throwing pits close every night at 10 p.m. Visit thelumberjackmn.com for more information.

Contact Kevin Ott at kevin.ott@ecm-inc.com

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