Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When to Bury the Hatchet.

What is this about, anyway?

Inside a German-style kneipe in Panama City, there is a hacked-up table with a hatchet on it. Various nails and other scraps of metal banged in there, too.

The Panamanian waitress told me she thought it was some traditional German thing. We both shrugged and shook our heads. The owner was gone at that point, so I couldn't ask him.

After a bunch of tricky googling, here's my best guess.

I've been in my share of German bars and have never seen this. Maybe I've been hanging out in the wrong places. Or the right ones. Not sure I like the idea of a bunch of punters playing with hatchets and lager.

Fridays, by the way, it's cerveza del barril from 5 to 8 p.m. Toda la que tomes. All you can drink for $10. Warsteiner. Not my favorite, but I mean... ten bucks, right?

Seems like Friday might be a good day to quietly hide that hatchet behind the bar.


  1. You are correct it is Hammerschlagen ! We play this every year at our clubs Oktoberfest. My son is quite good at it, for being 7 years of age. We use a hammer (angle end) in lieu of a hatchet.

  2. we play it everytime we go to Austria Skiing. Although we just call it nail game!

    It's usually on a circular wooden block over there. You gently tap nails in around the edge, just enough so they stay in palce then take it in turns to hammer your nail in using the narrow edge of the hammer (the side normally used to lever out nails). Last person to get their nail down buys the beers.

    A great game and an excellent conversation starter, we always end up in a big game with autrian, swiss, german, dutch etc all playing together. great fun

  3. Should have known Stefan would know. This has North-Midwestern-Nordic-European beer geek brewclub activity written all over it.

  4. This is awesome. I want to start this up in Arizona.

  5. I was in Thailand and played this game with a streetwalker who told me where the girls over there got the idea. She said someone was over at the Gasthaus in Stillwater, MN, and learned of it as a derivative of Neilspiel (a traditional game played while chopping out stumps).

    When I got home, I looked into it and found that WRB, Inc. of Minnesota owns the rights to a federally protected family of trademarks and copyrights that protect their brand of service (known as Hammer-Schlagen). I guess they've done business all over the states, and pick-up games are really getting to be popular in people's back yards!