Wednesday, September 30, 2015

'Icebar London Rocks!' at the Ice Bar, 27th September 2015

The Ice Bar is cool. 

Yes, yes, that might be the shittest pun I've ever made but it really is dead cool. Ordinarily I'd find myself in natural opposition to a novelty bar in the moneyed heart of Mayfair that costs £15 get into. Frankly, the simple act of hanging out in these swanky places gives me unpleasant guilty shivers. Y'know, I don't want to literally be a champagne socialist. Even so, I can't deny that a bar where damn near everything is made of ice isn't a super fun to hang out.

On entering you're encouraged to don an insulating poncho with a furred hood, complete with extremely warm gloves. This proves to be good advice, even the glasses that they serve the booze in are made of ice (fortunately they don't appear to glue themselves onto your lips). The ice bar concept isn't entirely new (I remember seeing something similar in awful Bond film Die Another Day), but still, simply being there and watching the way light moves through these gigantic chunks of ice is aesthetically pleasing.

The place goes through changes of theme every so often, the new one being rock-themed. With cocktails named Comfortably Numb and November Rain (etc etc) it's a bit Hard Rock Cafe, but at least this allows them to exhibit two gigantic ice sculpted skulls that you can pose inside. Indeed, much of the interior seems designed to encourage visitors to snap photos of them and their friends enjoying the novelty surroundings. In one corner there's a throne to perch on, in another an ice drum-kit to pose behind - I'm unable to resist taking a couple of snaps myself - after all when on earth am I ever going to see this much ice again?

Given that it's literally freezing you can't spend all night hanging out here. Eventually your toes begin to tingle and fingers go numb (even through the gloves). I had a chat to the warmly wrapped up barman (apparently enjoying himself despite hailing from balmy southern Italy), who explained they have tightly regulated lengths on their shifts, ensuring they don't end up frozen solid.. After all,  alcohol, dancing and insulated ponchos can only stave off the cold for so long. But as you step back into the warmer real world it feels stimulating and fresh, a bit like enjoying a reverse sauna.

As a one-off novelty the Ice Bar is genuinely fun. Unless you're a homesick penguin it's unlikely to end up as your local, but if you're looking for something to add a bit of chilly fizz and crackle to a special night out you could do a lot worse.

Ice Bar is at 31-33 Heddon Street, W1B 4BN

London City Nights was invited to a promotional event hosted by Ice Bar, and provided with free food and drink.

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