One usually gets dressed to go out for a drink, but not in a heavy, fur-trimmed, floor-length cape with thick gloves to match. Unless the drink is in one of the world’s coolest night spots, a bar made entirely of ice. The insulated clothes that all visitors must don before entering the climate controlled interior serve a dual purpose: protecting patrons from the chilly 23° environment, and protecting the icy interior from patrons’ body heat. The unique feature of this hot spot is that the walls, tables, chairs, artwork and even drinking glasses are all fashioned from ice.
Don’t try this with your ice cubes at home, though. The crystal clear ice comes from the Torne River in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. A place so far north (125 miles above the Arctic circle) that the river is literally pollution-free. Six thousand tons of pristine ice are harvested every spring and stored in a warehouse so that two times a year, ice sculpting artists can completely redesign the interior with the help of specially designed saws.
There are ice bars all over the world now, but Stockholm’s Absolut Ice Bar, established in The Nordic Sea Hotel in 2002, was the first permanent installation, inspired by the ten-year old Ice Hotel, an exclusive resort in Swedish Lapland, open only 5 months of the year. Reindeer skins cover the ice beds and guests snuggle up in thermal sleeping bags (and if you are wondering, bathrooms are in an adjacent warm building).