Peter Segall | Juneau Empire                                The Viking Lounge has big changes coming its way.

Peter Segall | Juneau Empire The Viking Lounge has big changes coming its way.

Axes to grind: Big changes coming to the Viking Lounge

A transfer in ownership is the harbinger of many changes

For those of us that like throwing sharp things at targets but find darts too effete, the Viking Lounge is about to scratch that itch in a big way.

Jared Curé, owner of the Narrows craft cocktail bar, bought the Viking last year and on Tuesday, the state alcohol board approved the transfer of the alcohol license for the establishment.

He has big and far reaching plans for the two-story Front Street bar, which has a long history in downtown Juneau where it was originally built in 1900.

“The downstairs back bar, which was the dance club, has not been doing so well for the last few years,” Curé said in a phone interview. “The plan is to get axe throwing lanes back there. It’s been gaining popularity. I think it’s a great fit, not only for Alaska, but for the Viking.”

Enclosed axe throwing lanes are going to be one of the first major changes to the Viking, along with rebuilding the kitchen, Curé said. The popularity of such lanes in the Lower 48, with presences in many major cities and competitive axe throwing leagues, should make axe throwing lanes a welcome addition to Juneau’s social scene, Curé said.

“It’s an experience that I think will really capture visitors to town with the Alaskan experience and locals with the league play,” Curé said. “Being in Alaska, I’d like some Alaskans to represent.”

A kitchen will join the axe throwing lanes in the back, hooking up to an exhaust system still in place, but it’ll take some time with contractors to work out the best way to rebuild it, Curé said. When they’re done, the Viking will join the growing list of bars serving food in Juneau.

The axe throwing lanes will be fully enclosed for safety, Curé said. Lane coaches and strict rules for operation will be in place to ensure safety. Curé said he plans to have the axe throwing range and the kitchen online by the summer, though he said that’s a tight deadline.

Curé was adamant that the bar would not close during the refits, and that with a few tweaks, the core Viking experience would remain the same for loyal, long-term patrons.

“For the main bar: business as usual. We’re not trying to change it up for the current patrons,” Curé said. “Clean it up a little bit, but keep it the same space they know.”

Curé said safety and cleanliness are going to be priorities for the Viking going forward, with plans to make the staff are all on the same page with how to treat customers and cosmetic changes, such as new carpets and restructured bathrooms to come.

“That starts with the staff, with the expectation that we’re going to treat everyone with respect,” Curé said. “We want it to be a safe space, a safe bar and a fun bar.”

In addition to the visible changes, Curé said, there’ll be some changes coming to the bar’s beer offerings, including local beers from Alaskan Brewing Co., Barnaby Brewing and Forbidden Peak Brewery.

“There’s 42 taps in place. There’s room for craft beers and to highlight local beers,” Curé said. “I think there’s an opportunity to showcase some great beers from Alaska and from around the country.”

Longer term plans include installing classic arcade games upstairs like Skee-Ball and pinball, Curé said, but that won’t come for some time.

Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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