The first time I went to an ice bar was in Alaska at an Ice Hotel! Now there’s one in New York called Minus-5 (degrees). Located at the Hilton hotel in midtown, it opened TODAY! Smart move in the midst of a heat wave. The establishment has three existing previous locations in the U.S., two in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Bay and Monte Carlo Hotel and Casinos and one in Minneapolis.
The one in Stillwater, Minneapolis is part of The Freight House restaurant located near the St Croix River in downtown Stillwater. The building was originally built in 1883 as Stillwater’s freight depot. Initially expected to be temporary, the Ice Lounge is contained inside a large refridgerated trailer. The inside of the restaurant has been converted into a two-story dining room, with a selection of booths and tables.
The Ice Hotel I went to was at the Chena Hot Springs Resort in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was unequivocally one of the best experiences I have EVER had at a bar. I’m looking forward to checking out Minus5. FYI: There’s a cover charge, so your not surprised.
Minus5 founder and president of the Minus5 chain is Craig Ling of New Zealand has wanted to open up a location in NYC since 2008 according to a GlobeSt.com article. The first Minus5 Ice Lounge made it’s chilling debut in Auckland, New Zealand in 2002. A second one opened there in Queenstown the following year. In 2005, Ling took Minus5 to Australia — opening a location in Sydney, then another in Gold Coast in 2006. The Ice Bar landed in Portugal and Vegas in 2008. The Las Vegas Mandalay location was the first of what Ling hopes to be many in America. In addition to New York, Miami’s South Beach was on the agenda. Additional locations in the works include Los Angeles in the states; and India, Singapore, Dubai and Manila, were planned at one point Internationally.
Any actual plans for additional locations are tbd. According to Minus5’s website, the bar no longer has ties to any of their existing International locations, which could lend to Ling’s passion to get franchise opportunities rolling here in the states.
If you’ve got 90k, you too can be a Minus5 Ice Bar owner, here’s Ling’s pitch: “Minus5 Ice Bar is like no other experience on earth. Dubbed, logically, ‘The Coolest Experience,’ Minus5 Ice Bars are a literally chill concept, a frozen bar where you can touch, feel, and explore handcrafted ice sculptures and ice architecture made from 100 percent pure Canadian ice, while enjoying cold concoctions that are sure to warm you up. Named for its constant temperature of minus 5 degrees (23 degrees Fahrenheit), Minus5 Ice Bar is an unforgettable experience. Everything inside is made of ice: the walls, the bar, the sculptures, the seats, even the glasses that hold the bar’s famous vodka-based cocktails. At Minus5, ice is an art medium and customers are invited to share the love and beauty of what ice can be. Before entering Minus5, guests are provided with parkas, boots and gloves. For a little extra, they can get faux fur coats or a souvenir Russian fur cap.”
here’s to staying cool in the heat