You can go practically anywhere in the world and find a happening, chic bar or lounge made entirely of ice, and usually featuring colorful lights and intricate sculptures. From Scandinavia and Alaska to Australia and southeast Asia, I have learned that you do not have to live in wintery conditions to enjoy a drink at a frigid ice bar, which may not sound appealing, but once you see these photos, I think you will agree not to knock it till ya try it. Even the tropics have ice bars, which if you think about it may be even more popular than in a place like Sweden, which is known for being cold.
Anyway, since alcohol warms you up, where better to throw a few back than a place specifically designed to chill you out? It may seem that there could be few variations between all these ice bars, but that could not be farther from the truth. Some are open year-round while some are only open in the winter, some are cave-like while others are part of a big club, some offer food while others only serve drinks; the differences are vast, making the 15 global icy hotspots on this list all the more interesting.
In the end, there are too many ice bars on our planet to list here, but there are 15 that definitely deserve a closer look. Our world has ice hotels, ice saunas, ice cities, and everything else made of ice that you could ever think of. Here, I give you the world's 15 "coolest" ice bars, located in the arctic, the desert, the tropics, and mild climates, as well.
12 Minus 5 Ice Bar, New York City
The Minus 5 Ice Bar is located in several cities across the United States. It is in the Mandalay Bay and Monte Carlo hotels in Las Vegas, the Hilton in New York City, and the Pointe Orlando in Florida. They are all amazing places to have a drink or attend a party, but we’ll focus on the Manhattan location. Everyone knows that New York City is one of the greatest places to go in winter, especially at Christmas time with the tree in Rockefeller Center. Now, you can go any time of year and experience New York in “winter” by visiting Minus 5 in the lobby of the New York Hilton Midtown. They offer several Ice Experience Packages, from the $19 “The Experience Package”, which includes time in the bar, a parka, and gloves, to the largest package, the $75 Total VIP Experience that includes a specialty ice cocktail, a faux fur coat upgrade, gloves, a souvenir hat, and one five-by-seven framed photo (a $100 value). This magical setting is also available for private events.
11 Ice Kube Bar, Paris
Paris’ Ice Kube Bar is located on the mezzanine of the Kube Hotel in France’s capital city. It is advertised as being Paris’ one and only ice bar, and it reinvents its appearance each year. Somehow the ice bar is described as “cozy”, even though its 2,000 patrons per month practically freeze inside of it. Fittingly, it is inspired by the North Pole (designed by the Crystal Group), and has a lounge and a dance floor in addition to just the bar area. The “translucent igloo”, as it is described on its website, was made from 20 tons of ice. The temperature is kept at 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and for roughly $30 (29 Euros), guests receive a 25-minute session and four vodka-based cocktails. Cheaper rates are available for guests staying at the Kube Hotel, and reservations are required. Valet parking and private ice sessions are available upon request. Swanky!
10 Ice Pub, Prague
One of the hottest cities in central Europe, Prague, Czech Republic is home to the equally hot Ice Pub, where the walls, bar, tables, and sculptures are made entirely of ice. It is located inside of central Europe’s biggest music club, Karlovy Lazne, which only adds to its coolness (pun intended). The Ice Pub is kept at negative seven degrees all the time, and customers can enjoy their time there in 30-minute increments. A thermal jacket and gloves are provided, and the club-goers look more like astronauts than regular folks out for a good time when they bundle up in matching silver parkas and hats. The ambiance of the place in general is other-worldly, so it works. From noon until 9:00, the admission is 200 CZK ($7.75 USD), and it includes one cocktail. At night, the entrance to the Ice Pub is free, but you must purchase one cocktail in advance. Online, better deals are available.
9 Hotel de Glace, Quebec City
The perfect place to “chill out” if you happen to be in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada is in the ice lounge of the Hotel de Glace, the city’s all-ice hotel. Quebec’s capital city boasts this beautiful hotel formed from 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice, and even though it looks enchanting, some may prefer to just stop by the bar for a drink instead of spending the whole night on one of the beds made of ice. North America’s only ice hotel features this bar that looks like it came right out of the movie Frozen, and the drinks are served in ice block shooters, although reviews claim the prices were quite high (worth it for the experience, but high nonetheless). For $17.50, you can wander the ice palace and see what else it has to offer besides the bar, like the grand hall, ice slide, chapel, and more.
South America’s first ice bar is Ice Bariloche, situated in the city of San Carlos de Bariloche in southwest Argentina. In the midst of Alpine-styled architecture at the foot of the Andes mountain range in Patagonia, Ice Bariloche has a laid-back atmosphere. Inside, there are two bars, small tables, and low armchairs. There is also an igloo and quite contrary to that, a fireplace. Mammoth and Mongol soldier statues decorate the dimly-lit lounge, and according to some reviews, the icing on the cake is the “pretty barwomen”. There is a projection screen that reflects ice crystals onto the wall, ice-carved glasses, good music, and a certain “fog sensation” described by those who have visited the place. One reviewer wrote that, “It was like going into a glacier but feeling the comfort of a living room.” But perhaps best of all, Ice Bariloche features a resident yeti with whom you can take photos.
Since 2007, Ice Barcelona has been a city favorite frequented by Spanish locals and tourists, alike. It was the world’s first ice bar located at the beach, El Somorrostro Beach, to be precise. It was designed by internationally-renowned artists, and the lounge’s theme is changed at least twice every year to keep things fun and fresh. On average, visitors will spend 45 minutes in the bar, where the temperature is kept at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Ice Barcelona offers an alfresco ice terrace in which guests can relax while looking out onto the Mediterranean Sea, and they have several specialty packages to choose from. There is something for everyone between the Family, Party, Birthday, Hen, and Stag packages, among others. Prices range from $47 to $340 for the packages, but it is not necessary to purchase a package to drink at this ice bar. Ice Barcelona is also available to host press conferences, photo sessions, cinema and publicity, brunches, private parties, company cocktails, and product launches.
8 Chillout Dubai, Dubai
The first ice bar in the Middle East is the United Arab Emirates’ Chillout Dubai. Donning a hooded parka and wool gloves, visitors first spend a few minutes in a “buffer zone” to get acclimated to the sub-zero temperatures that are kept at a cool 21 degrees Fahrenheit in the actual lounge area. According to chilloutindubai.com, “It is a technological innovation in refrigeration, lighting, and architecture… It is an interesting combination of ice, glass, and steel. The diffused lighting changes its colors at certain intervals and it filters through crystal clear blocks of ice, filling them with low-lux hues of varying patterns.” Since Dubai has some very strict drinking laws, the lounge serves a variety of light meals, and of course, mock-tails. Located in the Times Square Center Dubai, the Chillout Dubai also hosts corporate events, film shoots, and private parties.
7 IceBar Melbourne, Melbourne
Australia’s only ice bar is the IceBar Melbourne, in the coastal city of Melbourne in southeastern Australia. Hailed as the “coolest place in town”, a group of patrons recently set the record for the longest stay inside the freezing cold bar: seven and a half hours! Jono Bentley and Robyn Crawford won the challenge, which is ongoing if you happen to be in Melbourne and are up for the task. Employees of this ice bar are lovingly referred to as “Eskimos”, and keeping with its fun nature, the IceBar Melbourne hosts several weekly events, such as Menopause Mondays and Student Night. Like most of the other ice bars, this one hosts events like corporate team building and hens/bucks/birthday parties. Standard entry, which includes snow gear and one cocktail, is $35 AUD, or about $25 USD. Prices vary depending on if you want non-alcoholic entry, entry with a photo, or a premium or deluxe entry.
6 Drinkhouse Fire & Ice Lounge, Miami Beach
We all know that Miami is a hotspot for some of the country’s hottest bars. It also boasts one of the coolest, the Drinkhouse Fire and Ice. It is an ice vodka bar and fire lounge. When you attend this swanky new bar, first you will select a plush fur coat, and enjoy a drink in the Experimental Cocktail Fire Lounge before entering the 23-degree ice bar. There is an upscale dress code that is strictly enforced, even though outfits are not visible beneath all the winter gear. The website advises to overdress if you are unsure about your outfit being too casual. The founders of Miami’s first ice bar and fire lounge are local entrepreneurs and humanitarians, Sally Drinkhouse and Nicole Pritchett, who created this place as an escape of sorts. They hope their brainchild will stimulate and energize guests in the atmosphere that features rare crystals, molecular cocktails, and contrasting hot and cold environments.
5 SVEDKA/Inniskillin Ice Bar, Getaway Cruise Ship
A few of the luxury cruise liners in the Norwegian Cruise Lines fleet feature ice bars on their ships. On the Getaway ship, the bar is called SVEDKA/Inniskillin Ice Bar, featuring (obviously) specialty SVEDKA vodka and Inniskillin ice wine cocktails. The 17-degree bar that is located on the ship’s eighth deck is decorated in the Art Deco style, with elements such as the iconic Ocean Drive skyline and palm trees etched into the ice walls. There is a life-size alligator throne, too. Prices are just $20 and that includes two signature cocktails. The Florida-inspired ice bar can hold 25 guests at any given time. The Getaway’s sister ship, the Breakaway, features an ice bar inspired by another favorite American city, New York City. This ice bar is decorated with ice sculptures of the Brooklyn Bridge, Chrysler Building, and Statue of Liberty. The temperature, pricing, and capacity are the same as the Getaway’s ice bar.
Alaska is the perfect setting for an ice bar, is it not? In the city of Fairbanks, Alaska lies the Aurora Ice Museum and Bar. Built in 2005 out of snow and ice from the Chena Hot Springs Resort, it was once a hotel (interestingly, the hotel was once closed because they did not have sufficient smoke detectors). The bar’s signature drink is the appletini, served in a souvenir ice-carved martini glass. There is an ice fireplace (weird), sparkling ice chandeliers, and stools covered in caribou fur. This place is open year-round thanks to its patented absorption chiller that keeps it frozen 365 days a year, even when temperatures reach 80 degrees in the summer, and the sun shines for 24 hours a day. Just in case you are in Alaska without your parka, one will be provided to you. This beautiful bar may be a part of a museum, but it is no ordinary stuffy museum, and more importantly, the bar is every bit as hot as all of the rest of them on this list. Next door to it is the hot springs resort, so it is common practice for tourists and locals to take a dip in the natural 106-degree hot springs, then cool off in the 25-degree ice bar.
4 Rio Ice Bar, Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian drinkers were a bit skeptical of the ice bar idea at first, but since opening almost one year ago, people have warmed up to the Rio Ice Bar in Barra da Tijuca, Brazil. Made from 130 tons of ice, the idea was to bring a little bit of cold to Rio during its annual Carnival celebration, which takes place during the hottest time of year. It took 20 days to make, and was transported from Sao Paulo to Rio in two refrigerated trucks. The climate-controlled antechamber of the bar is recommended for no more than 20 minutes at a time, although the complimentary beer and shot of sake will undoubtedly make the frozen third of an hour just a bit warmer. A photo with the Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain ice sculptures are also included in the price of $15. This bar has sofas and tables made of ice tinted in a glacial blue hue, and has been called a reverse sauna. It is a must-see for tourists of course, but Brazilians themselves were awe-struck by this place, as most of them have not spent much time around snow, ice, or in cold temperatures!
3 IceBar by IceHotel, Stockholm
The IceBar by IceHotel in Sweden’s capital city is located conveniently in the city center close to shopping and sites. It is in the same building as the Nordic C Hotel, which is beautiful in its own right. Built in 2002 as the world’s first permanent ice bar, the interior of this ice bar is renewed each April with masses of ice from the Torne River in northern Sweden. Up to 60 people at a time can enjoy a variety of cocktails in icy glasses for 40 minutes each. Open all year round, temperatures are kept at 19 degrees Fahrenheit, and this Arctic world and its artistic lighting and unique interior are considered a piece of art. Polar magic, if you will. Until April 2017, the theme is “Wild Encounters”, meaning there are ice sculptures of brown bears and wolves, and a whole ice forest to walk through. The upcoming New Year’s Eve party will be epic, and IceBar by IceHotel also offers after-work get-togethers, romantic dinner events, and ice-sculpting classes. IceBar by IceHotel advertises that a drink in their bar is like no other drink in the world- ice cold, glimmering, and unique.
2 IceBar London, London
The great city of London has the UK’s only permanent ice bar, called, fittingly, IceBar London. The founding architects of IceHotel, Ben Rousseau and Ake Larsson, designed it. One of the coolest themes it's had over the years was “Galactic Frontiers”, pictured above. They used 43 tons of ice to create their masterpiece over six days, which included large planet scenes and a model of planet Earth. The current theme is “Wild in the City”, and previous themes have included “Factory”, “Aquatic”, “Disco”, “Purity with a Twist”, etc. This year’s New Year’s Eve party will have a theme of “Speakeasy”. Each new theme continues the IceBar tradition of the innovation and style that it has become known for. If you attend this ice bar, you will be given a designer thermal hooded cape and gloves for your 40-minute visit. It will cost you anywhere from $14-$26 USD for admission, and even the most standard package comes with at least one spirit-based cocktail.
1 Below Zero Ice Bar, Queenstown
The Below Zero Ice Bar in Queenstown, New Zealand, is dubbed Australasia’s largest and greatest ice bar. If you consider what a massive portion of the world Australasia is, that is really saying something. Hand-sculpted by some of the world’s best ice carvers, everything from the walls to the furniture is made from crystal clear ice. They provide the coat, gloves, and boots so that patrons can be toasty warm while experiencing the frosty cold. Admission can be purchased with or without cocktails and shots included, and the prices are reasonable, ranging from $11-$59 USD. Most travel websites give this joint four to five stars, so it seems like it would be an excellent choice should you ever be in the Queenstown area and feel like literally chilling out. The neon lights, animal furs, carved ice animals, and yummy cocktails make this a must-see in New Zealand.
Sources: tropicalnomad.com, minus5experience.com
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