The Aussie Ice Bar

December 2, 2006

Remember to click on the pics to see big versions of them

Since reading about the Ice Hotel in Sweden (yes the whole hotel, even the beds, are made of the cold stuff), I have always been fascinated about ice sculptures that you can live/drink/sleep in. Unfortunately, when I did have the opportunity to visit Norway it was summer and not very condusive to frozen sleeping spots.
So I did the next best thing – I went with a couple of mates (Kate, Sandra – her neighbour from Austria – and Darren, another Contiki mate who has just moved here from Perth) to the Minus 5 Bar in Circular Quay in Sydney.

We stepped into the venue and went upstairs to prepare for our “cool” experience. We paid $30 and in return got an arctic jacket with full-on fur hood, two pairs of gloves and thermal boots. They also have us a timer which would beep once we were in the ice-bar for 30 mins (the maximum amount of time you can be in here – they’re obviously scared of any hypothermia lawsuits waiting to happen).

Dressed for the Arctic
Dressed for minus 20 degrees, we waited in the corridor sweating away until we were called into the orientation chamber, where we watched a short safety video (if you break a sculpture, you buy it – just like any other shop).

Then we entered the Minus 5 Bar. It was pretty cold and white. There were scupltures throughout the room – the Sydney opera house, a naked man and koalas. The bar was all ice, the bar stools were all ice, the chandeliers were all ice. Apparently they fly a master-scuplturer from New Zealand every 6 weeks to carve out new sculptures.

We collected our included vodka cocktail in a (you guessed it) ice glass. Note: make sure you hold your “glass” in 2 hands or it could slip.
We then lounged on the reindeer (well, at least I reckon it was reindeer) hide covering the bar stools and sipped on our yummy cocktails. It was quite bizarre looking out the window at the sunny weather outside, where pretty people in tiny vests sipped at their drinks, while we were dressed for Alaska.

The temperature
Sandra was pretty hard core and took off her gloves (she’s from Austria, she’s used to frost-bite). I, on the other hand, stopped feeling my fingers after 30 minutes. So we obeyed our beeping times and left the freezer.

We threw off our winter attire, got circulation back into our limbs and went out into the warmth. What a ‘cool’ place!