As summer temperatures start to soar, with heatwaves across Europe, and the UK recently recording its hottest July day in history, it’s good to think about a cooling cocktail in a sub-zero ice bar.
Here’s Chilled’s list of places to chill out in ten of the world’s greatest cities.
This was the first permanent ice bar in the world when it opened in Stockholm in 2002, although they do change the design theme every year. All the ice, including the glasses in the bar, comes from Sweden’s Torne River, and there are other ice bars owned by the same company in London and in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi. This is in the extreme north of the country and known for its own ice hotel.
This Czech pub, sometimes also called the ICEBAR, is in the biggest music club in central Europe, the Karlovy Lázně. This 5-story building has a different club on each floor and is open every night till 5am. The ICEPUB is kept at a constant temperature of 19F and is well-stocked with Heineken and a range of vodka cocktails.
FROST Ice Loft
The FROST Ice Loft is the only permanent indoor ice bar in New England. It’s located inside the 18th-century Faneuil Hall, so a visit here gets you a historic building as well as a bar that’s kept at 21F. They serve cocktails, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages as well as wine, but if you like your Bordeaux at room temperature – tough.
The only ice bar in Paris, and the first in France, is inside the boutique-y Scandinavian-style Kube Hotel, handily placed behind the Gare du Nord for those coming in on the Eurostar train. As well as 41 rooms and suites, there’s a restaurant and the ice bar, which has a lounge and a dance area. They used 20 tons of ice to build the bar, where they serve Ciroc vodka cocktails.
Not to be outdone by anyone else, Orlando ICEBAR’s claim to fame is that it is the biggest permanent one in the world, using 70 tons of ice. It also has several ice sculptures and you’ll find it on International Drive, just north of the Pointe Orlando mall, where there’s also a minus5 ice bar. Once you’ve had enough of chilling, you can warm up in the adjoining FIRE Lounge night club.
On the Amstel Canal and facing the National Opera House, this Dutch bar takes a different approach. It uses 60 tons of ice to replicate the coast of the Canadian island, Nova Zembla, where the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz was stranded in his ship Mercury for almost a year while looking for the Northeast Passage in 1596. Of course he didn’t have endless supplies of Smirnoff, Heineken, and Jägermeister to console him.
Inside the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel, this bar has changing displays of ice sculptures, and various themed rooms, plus music, a full bar specializing in vodka cocktails, and various levels of ticket prices. There are also minus5 ice bars in Orlando and the Cayman Islands, and two in Las Vegas at the Monte Carlo and at Mandalay Bay.
The Hôtel de Glace close to downtown Quebec City has to be one of the most impressive settings in the world for an ice bar. The hotel first opened in 2001 and is built afresh every winter and has different styles each time. It has 44 rooms, ice sculptures, and snow vaults. You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to visit the bar, as they sell special cocktail packages that enable you to enjoy a drink and see the hotel without staying there.
Chillout in Dubai was the first ice bar experience in the Middle East when it opened in 2007; it underwent a major refurbishment in 2014. The extremes in temperature in Dubai from outside to inside can be so great that visitors spend a few minutes in a buffer zone at 41 degrees before entering the bar itself, which is kept at 21 degrees. The bar has proved incredibly popular with Arab visitors, few of whom have experienced ice before. The bar closes during Ramadan, enabling them to refresh the sculptures, which include a full-size Formula-1 racing car.
ICEBAR LONDON is from the same team that opened the original ice bar in Stockholm, and it too gets its ice from the frozen Torne River. It’s the only permanent ice bar in London, and is kept at a constant temperature of 23 degrees. The designs and sculptures change all the time, and you can have the novelty of enjoying frozen food there too, or in the regular restaurant and cocktail bar kept at normal temperatures.