I was here during the summer. It was part of a week long visit to London. The day before I left, I decided to check this place out.
It was pretty chill (no pun intended). It was tough to get around though. People were just standing around checking out the sculptures if they weren't at the bar getting drinks in the ice glasses. No, seriously, the glasses are made of ice.
The people I met here while inside are like those I would meet at a regular club. But its mostly toward tourists (like me) and it was fun. Being from Hawaii it was my first time drinking in a place like this (outside of going to a midwest bar in 20 degree weather). I'd go again but only to get out of the summer heat.
Quite a cool one off experience. The cocktails were darn nice. Shame they appeared to just be pre-mixed syrups, but understandable as the experience is only 40 minutes and there are at least that many to serve the complimentary cocktail as part of the experience.
As you arrive, you're thrown into a very bulky poncho, which comfortably fits over any sort of backpack you might have. Next you move into the ice bar itself. A interesting small room, that situated within, is a bar, a few tables and seats. It's cold, but not that cold. I think it must have only been about -2/-3.
Decor wise there is a lot of photograph, but very little to appreciate. You'll understand once there. There aren't any interesting details carved into the nice. There isn't any history or ice or any special sculptures. Your drink is served in an ice glass, which is cool, but gimicky. Other than the decor itself, there isn't really any effort on behalf of either the staff to provide any entertainment or banter. The whole "keep your glass" if you want to order another drink was a little cheeky personally. If you're buying another tiny cocktail, I wouldn't they they would scrimp of the cost of some frozen water.
In all, one of those places to tick off the bucket list. I did enjoy my time there. But not enough to recommend to others. If you're already thinking about it though, it's likely worth your time.
Well. That was a bit of a disappointment.
Let me start off with the good things. YOU GET MITTENS ON STRINGS! Like when you were a kid and they were sewn on to all of your coats by your mum. And yes, you do actually need them as the place really is freezing!
Other good things...ummmm... I'm drawing a blank. This is some of the worst customer service with the rudest staff. We arrive for our slot on time only to be met by a gruff guy who instead of taking our names and printing off our tickets in one go, insisted on doing it one by one and then making it out to be our problem that it was difficult. Come on dude, a little common sense might be good.
We finally reached the doors and braced ourselves to go in. This was it, the big moment we had all been waiting for. The doors opened and....
Oh. Really? It's that small? Yes, everything is actually made of ice, but there isn't a whole lot in there. Just a bar, two tiny tables and four chairs. That's it! The walls are a bit icy too bit really don't get fooled by the pictures on their website. It looks NOTHING like that.
On to the next big problem. There is only one person at the bar! Serving everyone in that time slot. The bar man doesn't speak and he makes drinks verrrrryyy slowly. We were in there for about 10 minutes or more before we even started to get served. The drinks do come in funky ice glasses but this being a tourist zone, yep, they're tiny. £13 deposit for that? Not on.
Then, like the end of the worst party ever, the house lights are turned up and the "fun" is officially over as you are quite literally shoved out the doors.
I was quite relieved. My toes were starting to get way too cold! As a few other people have said, I'm pleased I went, as it means I never have to go back...
No, not the temperature, though it is a chilly -2. The atmosphere.
We arrived 10 minutes late after getting lost and after a frosty reception from the guys at the desk, ironic considering where we were, we were told to head round to the guys giving out furry ponchos at the door.
They throw the poncho over you, tell you the gloves are attached (like when you were six and your mum sewed your gloves to a bit of elastic and threaded it through your sleeves so you wouldn't lose them) and send you on your merry way. Not much of a smile. No greeting. No fanfare. Okay.
Entering the bar itself feels like stepping into a giant freezer. It's weird, but cool. Plasma screens hidden behind icy panels, big hunks of ice formed into benches and tables and a countdown clock reminding you just how short-lived your time here is.
We automatically headed to the bar because, well, there's not much else in there, and were given an icy glass filled with a few drops of alcohol and some fruit juice. Yum. Just my kind of cocktail! The taste is beautiful, fresh with a hint of alcohol and SO cold. Beautiful. If you're after anything stronger however then you're out of luck because they've got a set drinks list and never deviate.
If you're also hoping to get served quickly, then think again. They only have one guy behind the bar and the atmosphere can get a little chilly as you all battle to get served within the time limit. It's not the most relaxing drink I've ever had.
After drinking the first, we took our ice glasses back for a refill. At £6.50 they aren't cheap and you don't get much for your money other than the experience of drinking from a block of ice.
Make sure you bring cash if you do want a refill because the alternative is uncomfortable. They take your card from you and hand it to reception for you to pay with later. I do NOT like the thought of handing my card to a total stranger. It goes against everything my parents told me about keeping my bank details safe. Not cool.
When the timer hit two minutes to go, the lights came up, the music stopped and a guy came out and told us it was time to leave. What? But we still have time left! Is there really that much of a rush that you have to throw people out of the room before the timer even hits zero? Not impressed.
All in all, there are a few crucial things wrong with the Ice Bar.
There is no check in service, you just go in as you are, which is a tad annoying when you're already wearing a thick coat and carrying a bag. I spent the most of the time trying to juggle a drink and a bag constantly sliding off my shoulder. There is only one barman and you need to fight for his attention. And if you stop for a second, you'll find yourself frozen to the spot - literally.
But at £13 for entry and your first drink, it's a cheap way to have a new experience in London. Now I can tick it off the list and never go again.
Icebar is damn cold, and I don't just mean the temperature.
This is about a as cheesy a place it gets, although I don't actually mind a bit of cheese. The idea is: everything is made of ice. The walls, the seats, even the glasses that you get your drinks in. All made of ice.
The room is freezing but you get given a thermal poncho with attached gloves before going in (that's kind of fun). It's needed too, my hands got freezing while trying to send out a tweet for the few minutes it took me to text it.
So it's fun in that touristy kind of way. However...
The staff here is awful. To come, you can show up at the door but there may not be a spot. Instead, they recommend you book beforehand (and pay £13 which included entry and your first drink.) We came at our time and the guy checking people off the door was awful. We were literally the only ones there in line (about five of us) and he kept taking one name, and running inside to get a ticket. When we tried to give him two, he glared at us. Awesome.
Inside, the service wasn't any better. The bartender was angry and rushed (I can't blame him for that, it was freezing) but with that many people trying to get drinks at the same time, you think they would have had two or three. Nope, just one.
You're also only in the room for 40 minutes. They have a smaller timer on the wall, but it's hard to see. When 37 of our minutes were up, they threw on the lights without warning. And at 40, a guy came around to shove us out the door. Cool bro, I know it's cold, but that's kind of the point.
The time does go by really fast and it is a lot of fun to stand in basically what's a giant freezer and drink with friends for a little bit. I'm glad I did it once, and now I never need to do it again.
[NOTE: this review is only regarding the bar and not the restaurant]
Should you go to this bar? Meh. Should you go to this bar once in a lifetime? well for 13£ why not, but do not expect to come back again..
The process of accessing to the bar, the person checking your reservations, and the ones giving you the poncho with gloves attached are really friendly and talky, and before entering in the actual bar the atmosphere seems classy but warm.
And then you enter in the ice.
And then you go into the ice. For real.
The bar in sè it's nice, the idea of having everything built with ice is nice and everything else, but it's a bit small and without anything to look at... I mean, you build a bar entirely in ice, just put a damn sculpture, something! instead.. it's just a bar, a couple of tables and two benches.
But the worst part, and the reason why the number of stars above is just 2, it's the actual bar service: the drink is included with the entrance, and we directly went to the bar (well, not that you have many other things to do anyway!).
At my question "Do you have anything bitter?" The answer simply was "No, you can choose among these" pointing at the chart. A chart with less than 10 cocktails. Yes I can read that chart man, the point is that I didn't find anything interesting, that's why I'm asking to you for anything bitter! But no, that's the chart and you can only choose from the chart. Damn. I don't consider it an actual bar service, I mean that's just rude and really, really sad for him.
After 37 minutes... Lights go up, and music go down, after 40 a man comes in and tells you to go out.
Yeah, great. Thanks Ice bar for the experience, I enjoyed to stay in a fridge for 40 minutes, now I can never come back again.
Don't get me wrong, this place is GREAT. Basically you get 40 minutes wrapped in a fur jacket in a room covered with ice, it's random as hell. What's not to like? Iiiiiiif, you're not delayed. See, I was. I knew i'd be about 15minutes late (I got lost - not proud of it, but I did), so I gave them a call. The response I got was 'well, if you come up 15 minutes late you'll get 20 minutes in there'. Which was fair enough, I cocked up.
I managed to get there only 10 minutes late (well recovered I feel) expecting to be quickly whisked into the room to make the most of my remaining 30 minutes.
Yeah, that didn't happen. I walked into the empty reception which was manned by two guys, who blanked me and my girlfriend entirely and just had a nice chat. I interrupted them, only to be tutted at and pushed down the hall to the fur coat guys (the reception was pointless).
The fur coat guys were fine, once we interrupted their conversation too, we were pushed into a small cold room which let us into the bar itself. When we got in, there was an ok amount of room - you kind of felt like sardines, but it wasn't too much of issue.
You got your first drink 'free' - I say free, you already paid for it weeks ago when you book the tickets. So, now your feet are frozen to the floor (literally it felt sticky but your feet were frozen). You have one of there huge range (about 6) cocktails in your (pretty cool) ice glass.
This is what you've come for - you're inside THE Ice Bar, and it is really impressive. Multi coloured lighting reflected through ice, TVs behind walls and seats made from a single block.
So, the clock on the wall is ominously counting down to 00:00 and you've drank your drink (read half a drink - the cups are TINY) so you want another one. You go to the bar - the service HAS to be fast, you're on a timer after all. NOPE, I waited 5 minutes to be served - there was only one barman in the whole place.
Normally, waiting at a bar is pretty standard - 5 minutes is normally pretty reasonable. Not when you're on a timer. I don't really have time to stare at the back of a barman's head when I'm being thrown out in t-minus 15 minutes 43 seconds. Writing this I feel a bit harsh but at the end of the day I paid to go to a bar to experience the amazing ice-covered epic. And at a MINIMUM of £13 per head (if you don't buy a £6.50 drink refill) with about 30 people every 45minutes, you can afford to hire a second barman.
Eventually I got served, they don't take card in there so you have to start a tab and pay outside (finally the reception has a use!). The rest of the time was spent talking until at 3-minutes to go, we began to be herded out of the bar itself. They stopped the music and put up the lights. UNIMPRESSED.
Overall, this is a cool place to go. It's a nice place to take your girlfriend/boyfriend. BUT it's somewhere you'd only go once. It's a gimmick at the end of the day, after all you can't have a night out in 40 minutes.
Go here for the experience, but expect nothing more.
They should really work on their crowd management. It was impossible to get around the room since large groups of tourist or immature college students kept crowding the sculptures in the middle and would not move. Then there are the groups that hog all the seats and tables. It's very much a "tourist destination," so they're just doing the bare minimum to meet a mediocre satisfaction from customers.
It's a nice experience, though. I also went around Christmastime, so the Christmassy sculptures made a special impression.
Icebar is a really fun gimmicky tourist activity with good drinks served in all ice. The ponchos come with gloves so you can handle your ice drinks, so no worries there! Everything is really organized from the entry poncho line up to the drink system to the time countdown on the ice wall (each entry is 45 minutes). FYI the ground is not ice so you don't slip.
I was in London for a meet up with friends and it was just a casual affair, but I actually had an action packed 2 days! My friend Laura (who is known as the Lauracle as she knows so much stuff and is a living, breathing, walking social calendar) booked us into the Ice Bar. It was a good thing too, given that London was a torturous 30°C outside!
Everything inside is made out of crystal clear ice harvested especially from the frozen Torne River in Jukkasjärvi (blatantly copied and pasted that; not a chance I could spell it!), Northern Sweden and they have annually changed themes for the bar. This year is the 'Galactic Frontier' theme, complete with a model of Earth made from ice!
For £16 you have a 40 minute slot in the ice bar, hire of your thermal cloak and a cocktail from their impressive cocktail menu. Of course you can order more cocktails during your slot - they have a huge selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails that sound delicious.
I had a try of a few and they were beautiful. I ordered 'Galactic Frontiers' which is a blueberry infused Tanqueray gin with crème de cassis, pomegranate juice and lychee juice. Mine was very strong - who orders a gin cocktail the day after the night before? Oh yeah, me. It was nice but it was too much alcohol to have more than the one! We sipped our drinks and admired the wonder that was our ice cave. We chatted, drank and took photos galore.
I'm pretty easily amused - I loved my cape and was sad to have to return it! My cape only had one glove which made holding drinks difficult. To try anyone else's I had to be fed as the glasses melt and slide from your warm hands! I tried a fair few and they were all beautiful. They don't skimp on the alcohol, let me tell you.
We were late in arriving so we only had 30 minutes or so and to be honest it was plenty time! By the end of the session there was a sea of empty ice glasses and a bunch of happy, chilled out, watered and amused people. Going back into the 30°C sunshine was that little bit more bearable!
My parents bought my tickets for the Ice Bar as a Christmas present. I had wanted to go for years and it turned out to be a great day out!
The queue was a bit of a buzz kill, but nothing a bottle of wine can't fix! We were given our blue capes and ushered away into the freezing ice bar with a large group of people. It was smaller than I had anticipated, but much better decor than I imagined. They had a globe sculpted out of ice and the glasses were made of ice too! The 40 minutes inside was enough, before I started shivering uncontrollably.
Downside: Pricey drinks, little quantity and weak measures but expected from the heart of London I guess.
Verdict: A must-do touristy attraction in the city!
The Ice Bar was ice cold but not overdone, and the layout is good, with two tables, a bar and a kissing igloo. Drinks were creative mixes that were hit or miss (some tasted a little weird, but a few were very good! Like the voyager, order it when you're there trust me ;)
Definitely worth going to if your around Piccadilly. It's a fun experience, and better than the Ice Bar I went to in Las Vegas. Not too expensive as far as ice bars go. The ground floor is well put together, nice decor, comfy seats, though the bar there is more pricey than the Ice bar itself. We scheduled to go to the icebar at 715 on a wednesday, arrived 10 mins before, and had a great time, no problem with the queue.
Only complaint I had was that the coat they gave me smelled a little funky, they could wash that.. because of that, they get 4 stars, not 5
The Icebar is a place you
could easily walk past without noticing which is great as behind those doors is
a great cocktail bar, untouched by the masses. Having said that I would
recommend that you book ahead and reserve a table to avoid disappointment!The
cocktails are expensive the drinks are not strong but you have your choice of
vodka, whiskey and tequila in addition to uncharged champagne. Really
worthit is since the drinks are OK. At
least they're not watered down with melted ice.
If you're a tourist like me, or even if you aren't but haven't been to Ice Bar, you need to do the 40 minute ICEBAR Experience once.
The 40 minute experience includes blue furry capes (even with a hood!), gloves, one complimentary cocktail, and entrance to a bar that's almost completely made of ice. The ambiance was great, it was cold, and the bartender was very helpful. 40 minutes may not seem like a lot, but you really do get the most out of it.
Seats, sculptures, the counters, walls, and even your cocktail class is made of Swedish imported ice.
I would recommend booking online, as they are cheaper when you preorder in advance. Sunday- Wednesday prices are the cheapest (12.50). Also, don't be late as they start kicking you out 40 minutes after your reserved time!
Don't forget to bring your camera!
I was lucky enough to attend their galactic launch party, and i was impressed, i havent been before so was not entirely sure what to expect. After a few tequilla cocktails we were taken into the waiting area where we sampled a tequilla sorbet and a tequilla toothpaste concoction - very bizarre but lethal alcohol zing lol.
I loved the outfits of the staff and the dj.
We were given capes and gloves and sampled 2 coctails 1 blue 1 red and oh so nice. I even tried a sangrita ice lolly which was awful unfortunately someone took my pic showing my expression lol.
I really enjoyed the novelty of this experience and look forward to going back and trying out one of their meal deals
Great ! Off my checklist of things to do in London !!!
Cocktails are quite prICEy, though quite original in names and composition.
You have to queue for a bit to get in, as they can only allow so many people in there, as it's quite small, and for 30 minutes only.
It was very nICE in the end, and since it's not humid nor windy, the cold is not bothering at all...
I would think twICE about going there again, when new friends or family are in town, so see you there !!!!
I had a friend visiting, so after reading reviews thought that this might be a fun thing to do. The buildup was great- we booked our reservation on-line, waited for our 2 minute group info session before being cloaked in a poncho and being sent off into the ice box. But even with the anticipation it was just okay, and here's why-
Drinks- Very tasty and very strong, though a bit small...
Decor- I thought there would be more to it. The blocks of ice that make up the wall have been carved internally, which makes sense but wasn't as cool as I had imagined (this was obviously my fault; I was let down because it just didn't match up to what I thought they could have done).
Staff- Very friendly but after a couple drinks there, that just wasn't enough to hold my attention so we took off.
Good drinks, but I probably won't be going back.
**Side note, bring cash! The CC machine doesn't work inside the bar
Admittedly, I was a tourist being a tourist and when I saw the icebar being recommended on the guidebook I thought, "this is too COOL to pass up!"
Everything inside this bar is made of ice: walls, seats, tables and the bar itself. Entrance is pricey at £14 and this buys you one REALLY girly drink. The cocktail menu has a lot of vodka based drinks, all of which feature Absolut vodka. My cosmo was really sweet, so I wouldn't go here to get smashed.
Before entering the bar, you're given thermal hooded cloaks with matching gloves, and believe me my friend you will use those gloves to hold your drink since your cocktail is served on a block of ice! neato!
There's a big digital timer on the wall to signal your 40 minute time limit inside the bar. (who stays there longer anyway?!) If you've never been, go to satisfy your curiosity and have a blast!
* For cold-weather lover Janet O *
The novelty of being in a bar made of ice is quite fun! For 15 £, you get entrance and a free drink coupon. They'll provide you a furry coat/cape and gloves to wear. The entire rooms is made of ice- walls, floors, bar table, etc. There are random things to take pictures with (ice phone booth, etc). You get an ice glass to drink out of. Their drink selection to choose from is small and very colorful. They highly discourage it, but patrons do drop/smash their ice glass on the floor (it is only ice). They've got colored lights and hit music playing.
After we left the ice room, we continued the night in the regular bar area. The drinks are made tasty and strong. They were nice enough to replace a drink that got spilled.
I had an awesome time here celebrating my birthday with friends. What topped the night was trying to figure out if that was really Jerry Springer (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Je…) at the other table. Why was he in London and why was he at Ice Bar? My friends started singing 'Happy Birthday' loudly and off key and inserted 'PAY ATTENTION JERRY SPRINGER' and it did sort of work. In the end, I went up to him when he got up and left his table and got a picture with him. Seriously, what an epic birthday and the night was still young
Yeah it is pricey, but you should try it once. Its fun- live a little. You may even spot a celeb, who knows.
I was lucky enough to attend their galactic launch party, and i was impressed, i havent been before so was not entirely sure what to expect. After a few tequilla cocktails we were taken into the waiting area where we sampled a tequilla sorbet and a tequilla toothpaste concoction very bizarre but lethal alcohol zing lol.
I loved the outfits of the staff and the dj.
We were given capes and gloves and sampled 2 coctails 1 blue 1 red and oh so nice. I even tried a sangrita ice lolly which was awful unfortunately someone took my pic showing my expression lol.
I really enjoyed the novelty of this experience and look forward to going back and trying out one of their meal deals
Cold Cold Cold... I usually try to avoid any place where I know for certain that it will be filled with tourists, but I finally gave in and thought what the hell. The moment I walked in I realized that a little bit of hell wouldn't be too bad it was so freakin cold.
But I could see why people are drawn to this place, it's really cool and it's something I will never forget, you can say that the memories are frozen in my mind. The drinks are steep but then again it is from a glass that can only be used once before it melts.
An eskimo for a day with friends was worth the cold, next stop the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärbi, Sweden.
I actually can not believe this place is still going, but I guess it's all about tourists, which we all know equals people-traffic!
I went for a friends birthday. Not something I personally would choose, but it was interesting nonetheless. The birthday girl had a good time, so I was happy.
Can't really justify the price for what you get though, and in effect you're paying to stand in a freezer for 30 or so minutes. I remember in my days of working for M&S, girls were only aloud in the big freezer for a short time, as we were told our ovaries would freeze! Nice! Yet some how they manage to get us to pay for the pleasure? Ha! Well apparently if you wrap it up with a pretty bow you can sell anything to anyone... don't you just love advertising!
If someone offered you the chance to dress up in a space-suit-esque Eskimo-style coat with fluffy edges, with huge gloves attached to the side, just so you could sip some drinks in a palace of ice for half an hour, wouldn't you do it? Don't lie.
It's truly a special experience, and while it isn't a place I'd ever think of as a regular haunt, you've got to try it at least once. And maybe again. And maybe another time. It's just FUN! Worth the entry fee for a unique, special experience where you can stand up inside a giant hollow ice cube, or have your fingers freeze-stick to a cup because, let's face it, you know you're going to slip that glove off when they hand you that ice-cube cup even just for a little bit. Aren't you. ;)
Before you go, you might think it's still to spend on the cover fee for a relatively small-ish time slot but once you're in there, you'll realise not only is it worth it but that amount of time is enough for one trip there. Oh yeah, and don't forget to book in advance if you can. That means, if you've never been, get off Yelp and go make a reservation now.
Oh, so cool...
I immediately organised an outing for my group.
The booking process was easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Got there & queued up (very short), got our cloaks and gloves and headed inside the Ice Bar.
You get a complimentary drink with the purchase of your stay in the Ice Bar, so I had the Absolut Ice Bar (formerly named) drink. Everything is made of ice including your glass. Don't go in there asking for anything other than vodka 'cause they don't have it. Although, since the name change this may be different now.
The drink was as strong & it needed to be. We walked (stomped our cold feet) around looking at the ice sculptures and sipping our cocktails. You can take pics in here but I recommend you keep moving initially until you acclimate to the cold. You only get about 40 minutes in here, which is plenty of freezing time.
Many people started to abandon the ship as they clearly were not keen on being cold for so long. I'm used to NYC winters so I could tough it out.
Although my original travel plan to Stockholm got completely ruined by the blizzard and a series of flight cancellations, I got to experience a little bit of Stockholm while being stranded in London! It truly made my day, what a fun experience that was! So gimmicky and touristie but this is definitely a must visit!!!! It turned out to be the coolest bar, literally!!!
I found Absolute Icebar by pure coincidence. I just happened to stumble across the bar while roaming around the Heddon St., and I got so excited that there's an Icebar in London as well! I asked the bouncer how the system works, and he told me the cover charge is 16GBP/ person which includes 1 drink price and the guests are allocated 45 minutes slots inside the Icebar. And trust me, you wouldn't want to stay any longer than 45 minutes because it's -5°C inside!! The interior is all made of ice, and visually stunning with cool colorful lightings. The space is rather small, but there are enough unique visual interests to keep your eyes entertained. Even the cocktails are served in glasses made of ice, but the size is very small. The atmosphere is very hip and tasteful, decorated with funky ice sculptures, definitely worth going at least once for the novelty experience of it!
Chill out and knock one back below zero.
I've been twice and while this is no place to get pissed, it's a blast of a good time. I've seen couples, birthdays and corporate parties book ICEBAR. It's a novelty with imported ice from Sweden and imported guests from all over the world and right here from river city. It's not all tourists.
The drinks are not strong but you have your choice of vodka, rum, whiskey and tequila in addition to uncharged champagne. Well booze is quite fine or you can upgrade to premium for £4 more. Not really worth is since the drinks are weak. At least they're not watered down with melted ice.
Book on line and enjoy your time freezing your arse off. It's a blast!
Recently, when I cornered a certain politician I needed to interrogate away from Parliamentary Privilege - where he had been protecting some of his controversial statements - this Bar/Restaurant was suggested. I will not voluntarily - but maybe under bright lights and a touch of water torture - give up my source as to who chose this rather 'opulent' rendezvous, other than to comment, that the suggestion was probably made hoping to 'cool' down any remarks I might make in my Newspaper Column.
As an aside; I can't imagine many ordinary guys inviting a girl on a date to a place with a name like 'Below Zero.' Unless, of course, he was a chap who had spent time in an Igloo or perhaps was a relative of Sarah Palin - and maybe thought he had a 'cool chick' on his hands. Myself, if I was a guy and hoped that the date would lead to some nocturnal gymnastics afterwards, I think the name of the joint would have deterred me somewhat - I'd have chosen something more in keeping with 'Sweaty Palms', or 'High Voltage.' Maybe 'Nether Regions' would have been more appropriate for a hopeful Lothario.
But, as they say, 'what's in name?' In this case it came down to 'What's in the Purse!' Frankly, it wasn't cheap, the booze was the same as you'd find in any classy establishment in town, although rather potent - which wasn't a bad thing, helped to get the old tongue to wag - and apart from the intimate and somewhat dark and plush interior - excellent for furtive foraging - the food was typically and tasty European. However, if you are someone of note, a celebrity or a crook on the run after a big heist, it's the perfect place not to be recognised. Methinks the Kray brothers would have loved the dark cavernous atmosphere. You could get out quickly and it would take the staff an hour at least to find the cold corpse.
As for the staff, they were far from cool. Au Contraire. They were a delight and either that way because they could, snatch a quickie at the Ice Bar 'on the house,' or, were deliberately chosen for their personable warmth in order to increase the temperature because of the name of the place.They were more than charming to me - and I didn't even have to flash flesh to get a cherub smile every time a staff member actually found me - without having to use his torch in the dim interior.
SUMMARY: Booze - hits the spot. Food far more than passable. Price decidedly heavy, but what else do you expect in Mayfair. Best factors: The décor, and the dark corners.
A darling of a place for Spooks, Celebrities or Camera shy Parliamentarians.
I organised a big trip to the Absolut Ice Bar for my friends and I about a year ago. We were originally going to have dinner, then go in. There was a special deal during the week for this set up, which would have been great, but unfortunately they wanted to charge me about £30/head up front. I couldn't afford to cover that for all 10 of us, so we just made reservations for the bar itself.
Thought this still meant that we had to put down a deposit, it was reasonable and I was happy to cover it. We arrived at a specified time and dressed up like little eskimo spacemen, which was wholly amusing. I wondered prior to arriving whether it was an 'over the coat' job and if I'd need to bring gloves. Turns out, the thermal cape fitted nicely over my thick jacket, and I was provided with thermal mittens that are built in. I didn't get cold at all, which surprised me considering we were sitting on blocks of ice covered with furs.
£15 allowed us entry for 45 minutes, and gave us a free drink (a vodka based cocktail in an ice cup). The refills were pricey at £7 a pop, but you can't really knock up too much of a bill in such a short space of time. It's a novel way to spend an evening, with plenty of photo opportunities and is most definitely worth a visit. The night remains a conversation starter to this day, but is best enjoyed in a big group I think.
Worth noting that the decor changes with every season. It was 'Disco Elvis' went I went, but you'll get a different theme every 3 months.
The first Ice Bar was at the Icehotel in northern Sweden, which was first built in 1989. Each year the Icehotel melts, and a new (bigger and better) one is constructed in the fall. Several years ago, the developer of the Icehotel had an idea of opening a permanent, year-round ice bar in Stockholm. Since then the famous bar has been franchised and you can even find one in Florida. I have been to the London and Stockholm Icebar, in general they are the same, i assume they are all similar.
When in Sweden, at the Nordic Hotel the ice bar is attached to, i thought it was an interesting and unique concept. I hadnt realised it was a touristy franchise and thought i had stumbled upon a hidden gem. The bar is essentially a large walk-in freezer. Every surface except the floor is ice. The walls, the bar, the seats even the cups are cutouts of ice. The bar is most proud of the cups in fact, originally they were cut by hand from river ice blocks taken from the pristine, crystal-clear Torne River of northern Sweden. Soon the ice glasses were so popular that a factory and production line were set up to manufacture the frozen glasses.
As it must be the bar is cold! As precaution, an unflattering poncho, a cross between an eskimo and star trek outfit, is provided. This garment is not truly intended to warm you however, its mostly intended to protect the ice from you. Further protection from our ice-melting body heat include gloves and sheepskins on seating surfaces. Ready to buy a drink? Hope you like absolut vodka because thats the only choice. Naturally anything else would freeze right?
The concept is interesting, the experience is cool (pun intended) for about 15 minutes. As you walk about among all the other similar looking penguins you realise 4 things:
1. Its cold in here
2. Its expensive in here, do i really want another drink?
3. Everyone looks the same-silly. Where is the swedish ski team?
4. Its damn cold in here.
Its an experience. Fits into the vegas mold of everyone should go at least once but no compelling reason to return. Makes for a good photo shoot and story. The fact that its been franchised and there is one in Orlando really cheapens the experience into just another touristy theme bar.
Yeah, yeah. Who comes to London and doesn't go to the ICEBAR?
We did this on our first night we moved to London. Honestly. After throwing our bags into our flats straight from Heathrow, we changed clothes and headed straight for the Absolut ice bar. The wait took awhile, but the waiting lounge is really lovely, and if you're with friends, you won't mind one bit. We decided to save our p's for once we got into the igloo part and didn't order drinks while waiting.
When it's your turn, they throw the special blue cloaks on you along with a pair of wicked mittens. Then it's time to booze and ice skate for the time you have inside. Basically, you take lots of shots -- in ice glasses and with your camera holding, touching, or sitting on other ice objects.
Anyone bitching about the price obviously missed the point. This is not your corner pub, it's a novelty attraction. Is admission to a theme park equal to your bus fare?
What are the qualities that i like in a bar in central london ?
1. Open post midnight on Friday. Check.
2. Its not too crowded. Check. Although the ice bar still has a big queue, seven of us could get into below zero and got a table to sit.
3. Its not too loud. Check. The music was nice and soft and we could hear each other, which is too much to expect in most pubs in the area at that time.
4. Nice cocktails. Check. Not too expensive also. I had a white chocolate (with vodka and some white version of Baileys) and a bellini. They make it well and are not stingy with the alcohol.
5. Good service. Well, we were too drunk to notice anything about the service.
On the whole, a very good place to come to post your friday night parties.
I came to the ICEBAR when I studied abroad in London back in 09 and I'm a huge fan. It was one of the really exciting things I remembered about London.
A group of us decided to hit it up one night because we heard so much about it. It's truly a unique place. Slightly expensive but not enough to stop us curious college Americans.
You have a certain time limit when you go in there, which is alright I suppose. We were able to be in there for about 37 minutes and after that, they tell you to go back upstairs because they can't have guests staying pass the time due to how cold it is.
However, for us it wasn't cold at all. They give you these really awesome thermal hooded cloaks with gloves attaches to them! Along with this, you get to choose whichever drink you'd like and it comes in a block of ice.
While you're down in the freezer part of the bar, there are some really amazing ice figures. The bartenders were really cool too.
Once we were back upstairs, we stayed for a little while longer at the warm part of the bar. However, I didn't order a drink because of their ungodly prices. I think one mixed drink was 12 pounds (about 24 US dollars). Too much for a lowly college student.
Prices aside though, it was definitely a great place to hang out if you haven't experienced it before. I believe there's only one in the U.S. so if you're anywhere else that has an Ice Bar in your area, try to hit it up! Some are quite different than others but they're all pretty neat to experience.
Although I'd like to say this is probably a huge tourist attraction, I went with a group of Londoners who had just as much fun as I did! Yes, there's a cover, and you only get to stay in 40-45 min, but screw it, you're hanging out with friends in an igloo!
The cover included a drink, mine was very tasty! There are random ice sculptures all over the place that are pretty cool. Some of my friends had a contest to see who could keep their bare hand (they give you gloves) on the ice the longest, yea I have mature friends.
Overall, it was a great time and a great place to start out the night!
Nothing better for a hang over than drinks in a Ice Bar. The afternoon after a brilliant birthday celebration, we went with our friends from Leeds and Manchester to the Ice Bar--their idea I might add--not the silly tourists' suggestion.
It was novel and the drinks were strong--a chilly hair of the dog. It is in a great location so stop by and grab an ice block and rest your feet.
This bar is never going to be your "Local", but to be honest, that's not what it's all about!
It is a London MUST for any trip...
A chance to pretend I'm in the Rebel Base on Hoth, how could i pass this up :D
On arrival, you get introduced to a nice staging area complete with a cocktail bar, whilst you wait for your session, though I do think that there are much cheaper places to drink before hand! Once it's your turn in the actual ICEBAR you all get your own "Thermal Poncho", leaving you looking like a character from the old Arcade game Ice Climber. That said, i strongly recommend you wrap up warm before hand, as you're still spending 45 minutes at -7...
Once inside, you get your first cocktail for free but have options to buy more, but to be honest, the cocktails themselves are incidental as well as overpriced.
Much more fun is trying to put your glass made of ice down on a bar made of ice without it skating away out of reach!
The time limit may seem short but it's just long enough to enjoy your drink, pose next to ice sculpture and generally act like a 6 year old on a snow day, but short enough that the novelty doesn't wear off!
Overall, well worth the price, and does make for an interesting night out!
A friend and I decided to go after class; since our lecture ends at 5pm, we had to hurry and jump on the Tube and and get there before 5:45, the last session of the day that was 13.50 pounds. Why pay more when you can go for the lowest price?
We were the first ones to arrive for the 5:45pm session, so we were the first ones inside the bar. A woman helped us get a parka on and we headed in. It was nice being the first ones in since we could snap pictures before it got crowded. The theme was deep sea =) I was dazzled by the intricate design of the ice.
By the time we decided to get our drinks, everyone had trickled in. It took us about 15 minutes to get our drinks with people jumping in when people left the bar rather than wait their turn. There were only 2 bartenders, but they were pretty efficient; I watched a bartender make 4 drinks at once.
My friend and I each ordered the Absolut Deep Blue (Absolut Peach, Blue Curacao, Watermelon juice); it was really good! I've taken shots of Absolut vodka before and it's rather gross. The combination of ingredients in the Deep Blue made for an enjoyable drink.
You're allowed to stay 45 minutes, but after half an hour we were cold and left after we finished our drinks. The parkas keep you warm enough, but the gloves dont. Your glass is made of ice, so you can see how this is a problem...Also, for those of you going for the first time: wear closed-toed shoes and pants!
They do have non-alcoholic drinks on the menu, so children are allowed in. I was confused at first when I saw a child, but then I remembered there were juice drinks on the menu. They also have a photographer that goes around taking your picture. You can buy the photo for 10 pounds...
Located off the infamous Ice Bar, there's nothing particularly memorable about this lounge. The lighting was right, the level of noise was good for conversation, and the cocktail list was long and impressive - but there still wasn't anything that set it apart from any other loungey venue.
I came with a couple of friends because we wanted somewhere not-too-loud to chat while imbibed a couple of cocktails. My friends had a fruity lychee martini, and I went with a stronger and less sweet concoction in the form of the "Sagini" - gin, pomegranate, and sage - I was pleasantly surprised at how well that all worked together.
The service was pretty nonexistent - and at times verged on curt. Our waitress rushed us to order and then brought us our bill before we'd said that we were finished. I'd say that the aloof service we experienced was definitely the worst part of the place.
I'd come back here only if I were in an absolute pinch for a lounge bar. This would be a good setting for a business drink perhaps, but it's far too formal and lacking any real cool allure to come back with friends - not even for a drink post Ice Bar.
Such a fun activity to do in London! Never done anything like it before and I recommend trying it out. Be aware that the drinks are somewhat expensive and strong, but if are you looking for something novel to do in London, check this place out.
The only downfall is that our waitress in the lounge was a little rude and the drinks are overpriced.
The concept and the idea is quite cool-
My friends and I came here on our first visit to London, I think overall it's worth visiting at least once, but I highly doubt I'll be coming back, at least not in the actual ice room.
Cool concept and good drinks, but the service was a little lacking, and people seemed a little snobby.
Overall a good experience.
Probably will not be venturing back here. Just wasn't my cup of tea.
The concept is that they have this place in freezing temperatures and they give you this giant poncho to wear over your clothes. Gloves are provided and you just go in.
You have to make a reservation for a specific time to go, and you only have 45 minutes inside of the fridge. It was more than enough time for my friends and I to claim our two drinks, drink them, and leave. We also arrived late.
It's just a weird mix of people... in the sense that you can't SEE any of them. Sort of felt like a cult meeting. All you could see are bobbing coned heads all of the place. I just think it would be a weird place to mingle.
Check it out though... worth experiencing just once!
This user has arrived from Qype, a European company acquired by Yelp in 2012. We have integrated the two sites to bring you one great local experience.