Ready, set, destroy: Smash Time brings ‘rage room’ to Louisville

Smash Time, a rage room concept, opens Sunday. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

At Smash Time, you can shatter a porcelain vase or a decorative plate with a golf club, and no one will say a word about it.

You can smash a wine bottle over a wooden table or throw an old clock against the wall. Angry about the outcome of the big game? You can whack a Kentucky Wildcats mug or Louisville Cardinals tray to bits with a baseball bat.

It’s all good at Smash Time, which celebrates its grand opening on Sunday, June 23.

Owners Meagan Cullen and Brian Larson started the concept, which they believe is unique in Louisville, after hearing about “rage rooms” in other markets. What really drove home the idea they needed to make it happen, however, was when Larson’s daughter came home one day, upset that some kids at school had been picking on her.

“She said, ‘I want to break something,’” Cullen recalls. “I said, ‘Well, you can’t do that, because this is our home.’”

And then Cullen’s father died in January, leaving her to think, “What do I do now?”

Smash Time owners Meagan Cullen and Brian Larson in the rage room. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Smash Time was the answer. For a fee, which varies depending on time spent in the 12-foot-by-19-foot rage room and what you break, you can make an appointment to come in and release your frustrations on inanimate objects.

You can smash bottles, work it out on a punching bag or smash dishes, which already are in the room when you walk in, over a table.

“Or you could throw ’em,” Larson adds.

If you need to destroy your ex-boyfriend’s Xbox or maybe a beer sign he left behind, there’s a bring-your-own-stuff option, too. Otherwise, Smash Time’s owners have a wall of items they’ve plucked from yard sales, thrift stores and through donations.

The only rules are no breaking anything like tube televisions or computers, no containers of gas or anything hazardous, and nothing with liquid inside. It’s safety first at Smash Time, which provides protective jumpsuits, gloves, helmets and faceguards for to make your temper tantrum as safe as possible.

In addition, the walls inside the room — which features a viewing window and even a live video feed in a waiting area if your friends want to watch — are plywood panels, so if you damage the walls in your tirade, they can easily be replaced.

“Just run down to Lowe’s, pick up another one,” Larson says.

“Then you get to leave and we clean it up,” Cullen adds.

It’s difficult to pin down where the rage room concept began, although The Telegraph suggests the idea started in Japan in the late 2000s as a response to a recession. Rage rooms have since spread to the U.K., the Middle East, Australia and beyond as people look to release their frustrations.

Some believe, however, the practice may do more harm than good in terms of controlling frustration and anger.

Cullen knows the concept sounds a little, well, “out there” to some people.

“When we first started talking about it,” she says, “people were like, ‘A what room?’”

They’re approaching it more as a fun group activity. She says dozens of people already have booked time, with many of them being groups. She’s been approached by large corporate groups that want to give employees a rage room party.

Going forward, she wants to incorporate themed options, such as holiday-themed specials, such as breaking Christmas items in the summer as a “Christmas in July” promotion.

And the relatively cheap items they find to bring in, once smashed, are recycled. Part of the fun is in smashing things that, when you were a kid, you would have gotten yelled at for breaking.

“What we’ve done when we’ve gone shopping is ask, ‘What would be fun to break?’” Cullen says.

The maximum ragers at any given time inside the room is two, and they can choose from baseball bats, golf clubs, mallets, wrenches, tennis rackets and other tools — nothing sharp — to use against whatever items they decide to break. Smashers also must sign a waiver.

Sessions start at $20, which requires you to bring your own objects to smash. The Breakup/Divorce Smash is 30 minutes and 20 items, and if you bring photos of your ex, Smash Time will frame them for you before you go nuts on them.

There also are packages called Couples Therapy, Date Night, Girls/Guys Night Out and Office Rage, through which you could theoretically live out the famous printer scene from “Office Space.”

Smash Time is located at 6470 N. Preston Highway Suite. Sessions are by appointment.