Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

14 of the World’s Coolest Ice Bars

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

If the summer heat just doesn't seem to be going away, and air conditioning isn't cutting it—or if you simply can’t wait another few months for the freezing cold temperatures of winter—you may be cheered by the prospect of retreating to a bar made of ice for a stiff drink served in a cocktail glass, also carved out of ice—even while humiliatingly dressed in a thermal coat and gloves worn by who knows how many previous patrons. Ice bars are not new—the first one opened in the 1990s, but their novelty shows no sign of wearing thin, so these themed bars have multiplied across the globe, popping up in destinations both hot (Miami) and cold (Alaska). Here are 14 of our favorites.

1. ICEBAR // JUKKASJÃRVI, SWEDEN

By L'Astorina - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Jukkasjãrvi, above the Arctic Circle in the far north of Sweden, is where the mania for ice-based hospitality was born. ICEHOTEL, the world’s very first ice hotel, was founded here in 1989 and is rebuilt every year from snow and ice from a nearby river. The hotel’s ICEBAR was launched in 1994 and, like the hotel, is designed and built by a different artist each year.

2. ICE BAR // SINETTÄ, LAPLAND, FINLAND

At similarly high latitude, in Finnish Lapland, the Arctic SnowHotel offers its own version of the ice bar. The essential elements are the same—drinks served in ice glasses, on ice tables, while sitting on reindeer pelt-topped ice chairs. The hotel also offers glass igloos, perfect for Northern Lights spotting. But even if you're not staying overnight, you can visit the ice bar as part of a day visit.

3. HÔTEL DE GLACE ICE BAR // QUEBEC, CANADA

Quebec’s Hôtel de Glace also allows curious visitors to partake in drinks at its artfully sculpted ice bar without spending the night in the ice hotel. Being located not quite so far north, Hôtel de Glace has a shorter life than its Nordic relations, opening only from January through March, though this time frame is perfect for a visit to coincide with the Quebec Winter Carnival.

4. ICE KUBE BAR // PARIS, FRANCE

KUBE Hotel - Paris/Facebook

Not all ice bars are located in ice hotels. Ice Kube Bar is part of what is otherwise a quite a normal, if trendy, hotel in central Paris. With its chic design, refreshed every year, its Finlandia-based vodka cocktails, and “custom-made soundtrack,” this one stretches for a scene that is less touristy, more, er, cool. (You still have to borrow the ugly thermal jacket and gloves though.)

5. ICEBAR LONDON // LONDON, ENGLAND

The same river that provides the ice for Jukkasjärvi builds the surroundings, and cocktail glasses, for ICEBAR’s London outpost. Open year-round, the bar’s design reflects changing themes. The recent theme of "rock" has led the designers to create a slightly alarming six foot ice skull—a warning to not exceed your 40-minute time allotment, perhaps.

6. ICE CLUB ROMA // ROME, ITALY

Ice Club Roma/Facebook

Given that England’s ice bar gets its ice from Sweden, it seems odd that Ice Club Roma—which is close to the Colosseum—imports its ice from England. With a sound and light show, this is more of a club than a bar but, kept at a steady five degrees, it probably won’t be a late night.

7. CHILLOUT ICE LOUNGE // DUBAI, UAE

Dubai would never let a gimmick pass it by. So in 2007, Chill Out Dubai opened in the glitzy city. This one does have the advantage of offering more sustenance beyond ice-cold vodka shots, however, serving up warming bowls of soup and mugs of hot chocolate.

8. ICE BAR AT SOHO SQUARE // SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT

Most travelers head for the Egyptian coastal resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to lounge around on the beach for a few days. If you are not like most travelers, head for Ice Bar at SOHO Square. Entrance includes icy vodka shots.

9. DRINKHOUSE FIRE & ICE // MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA

Drinkhouse Fire & Ice/Facebook

If you’ve ever spent any time in steamy Miami, you might be interested in one of the most recent ice bars to open. Designed by “master ice sculptor” David Berman, the ice bar at Miami’s Fire & Ice promises an “authentic” experience, whatever that means. You are only allowed to stay for 45 minutes, but can move on to the considerably cozier fire lounge afterward.

10. MINUS 5° ICE BAR // NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Those sweltering in New York’s City summer heat also have icy options. The Minus 5° Ice Bar, which is popular for corporate gatherings, is located in Midtown Manhattan with additional outposts in Las Vegas and Orlando. If booking on the company’s dime, note that the Total VIP Experience offers an upgraded faux fur coat and a souvenir hat.

11. ICEBAR ORLANDO // ORLANDO, FLORIDA

ICEBAR Orlando takes the title for biggest permanent ice bar in the world. Upon arrival you are greeted by an "Ice Princess," a possibly underdressed member of the staff who helps you into your borrowed thermals, and afterward you can warm up in the FIRE lounge nightclub.

12. ICEBAR MELBOURNE // MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

IceBar Melbourne/Facebook

As you might expect from our friends down under, IceBar Melbourne has quite a party atmosphere. The fun-loving bar hosts themed nights that include “Menopause Mondays” and challenges guests to down a chili-based HOT SHOT, awarding a prize if they last 10 minutes without asking for milk or water.

13. ICE BARILOCHE // BARILOCHE, ARGENTINA

Located in the Argentine Patagonian town of Bariloche, Ice BarIloche (see what they did there?) is South America’s first ice bar. Ice sculptures are created by local artisans and the atmosphere is family-friendly; there's even a resident yeti with whom you can take some photos.

14. AURORA ICE BAR // FAIRBANKS, ALASKA

After touring Alaska’s Aurora Ice Museum, open year-round at Chena Hot Springs Resort, you can chill out at the Aurora Ice Bar for one of of their signature appletinis, while warming up by the ice fireplace. If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot the Northern Lights.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
Alexa Can Now Help You Find a Wine Pairing
iStock
iStock

Even if you enjoy wine regularly, you may not know exactly how you’re supposed to pair it with food. But you don’t have to be a sommelier to put together a good pairing at home. According to Lifehacker, you can just ask Alexa.

An Alexa skill called Wine Finder is designed to help you figure out which wine varietal would go best with whatever food you’re planning to eat. You just have to ask, “What wine goes well with … ”

Created by an app developer called Bloop Entertainment, the Amazon Echo skill features a database with 500 wine pairings. And not all of them are designed for someone working their way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The skill will also help you find the proper pairing for your more casual snacks. In one demo, the skill recommends pairing nachos with a Sauvignon blanc or Zinfandel. (Note that the latter also goes well with Frito pie.)

You can also ask it to find you the perfect wine to drink with apple pie and pizza, in addition to the meats, cheeses, and other wine-pairing staples you might expect. However, if you ask it what to pair with hot dogs, it says “water,” which is an affront to hot dog connoisseurs everywhere.

There are a few other wine-pairing skills available for Alexa, including Wine Pairings, Wine Pairings (two different skills), and Wine Expert. But according to user reviews, Wine Finder is the standout, offering more and higher-quality suggestions than some of the other sommelier apps.

It’s free to enable here, so drink up.

[h/t Lifehacker]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Richard Brendon
This $56 Glass Is Perfectly Suited to All Styles of Wine
Richard Brendon
Richard Brendon

People who take their wine seriously tend to own different glasses for different types of wine. Decor website Home Stratosphere, for instance, identified 18 wine glasses—each shaped differently to complement the unique flavors and fragrances of a Bordeaux, a Burgundy, and other kinds of red, white, and dessert wines.

If you don’t want to spare the expense or the cupboard space for all those glasses, you may want to check out Richard Brendon’s $56 wine glass, which is said to be suited to all types of wine. As spotted by Fast Company, the “1 Wine Glass” is the result of a collaboration between Brendon, a London-based product designer, and wine critic Jancis Robinson.

Robinson said that when Brendon asked her to help design a range of wine glasses, she was “insistent” that they design one single glass. “I love white wine as much as red and have never understood why white wine glasses are routinely smaller than those designed for red wine,” Robinson said in a statement, adding that white wines can be just as complex as reds. “It just seems so obvious and sensible to have one single wine glass for all three colors of wine—especially when so many of us are short of storage space.”

To get it just right, they toiled with the thinness of the glass, the length of the stem, the curvature, the opening, and the overall practicality (Robinson said it had to be dishwasher safe, and indeed, the finished result is). The result is a 125ml handcrafted glass that can be used for all types of wine, including champagne, port, and sherry. The duo also designed a stemless water glass and two decanters. The items can be purchased on Richard Brendon's website.

[h/t Fast Company]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios