Newest Review: ... bar. I double checked all the information and decided to print the e-mail off to take with me just in case as there was a booking number o... more
Ice all round!?
Absolut Ice Bar (London)
Member Name: kiss_me2070
Absolut Ice Bar (London)
Advantages: fascinating, free drink with entry, unique experience, designer poncho to keep you warm
Disadvantages: better to book in advance, drink refills are expensive, not many seated areas
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My boyfriend's 30th birthday was coming up and I knew he wanted to go to the Ice Bar at some point. Our mission this year was to go to as many places as we could to visit and although it's the end of April already we haven't really had the chance to visit many places. As a birthday present, I decided that I would take my boyfriend to London for the day where we would go somewhere for a meal and then go to the Ice Bar so we could both experience what it was like here. Some of my friends have been to the Ice Bar and I love the look of it and as we both booked a day off work I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to go.
About Ice Bar
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The Ice Bar is exactly what it sounds like because everything is made from Ice. The walls, bar, tables and even your own glass are made from the purest ice. This is the only UK's permanent bar made of ice and is kept at -5c all year round. Everything in the bar is made out of crystal clear glass and harvested especially from the frozen Torne River in Jukkasjarvi, Northern Sweden. Each visit in the Ice Bar is 40 mins long and includes a free drink which you can enjoy in the Ice bar. You will be given your own designer thermal cape with a good and gloves to keep you warm during your visit. Once a year the bar is completely transformed with a new design theme and layout by a team of skilled ice designer and sculptors. Every design is different from the next and each year they eagerly anticipate the results of the wonderful artistic transformation. I loved the sound of visiting the bar and couldn't wait to go here with my boyfriend. You can wear whatever clothing you wish in the Ice bar but they do suggest warm clothing. You can wear open toed shoes; how-ever your feet may get rather chilly from this.
Booking the Ice Bar
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If you are planning a visit to the Ice Bar they advise you to book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment as you may not be able to get in if you just turn up on the day/night. I was planning on booking tickets anyway as I wanted to ensure that we could get into the Bar and I also wanted a time for as soon as they opened. You can only book tickets up to 28 days in advance so I had to wait until then to book the tickets. I actually went onto their website to book 2 tickets, one for my boyfriend and the other for me. Each ticket allows you 40mins into the Ice Bar and this comes with a drink a cocktail of your choice which you can order from the bar. When booking the ticket you need to simply choose how many people you want to book and the time you would like to visit the bar. It does state that you should arrive at least 15mins before your booking time to ensure you can get caped up before entering the bar. I paid for the tickets online which cost me £12.50. If I hadn't of booked tickets in advance it would have cost me £14.oo each for the tickets. Please note that the prices of tickets are slightly more expensive on a Friday and Saturday night. After making the booking I received a confirmation e-mail stating the date and time of the book and it also included other information such as how to get to the bar and what to expect when you get there. It did state that on arrival there may be a queue which is nothing to worry about; this is just in order to get everyone caped up ready for their time in the bar. I double checked all the information and decided to print the e-mail off to take with me just in case as there was a booking number on the e-mail. At least if I had it with me I could show them the e-mail if there were any problems.
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With your visit you get your first drink for free and you can then purchase additional drinks for around £6.50. You can purchase Non Alcoholic refills for £3.00 and you also have the choice to purchase a new Ice Glass for £4.00. Some of the alcoholic drinks include the following:
* Gin - Galactic Frontiers, Solar Flare.
* Rum - Ice bar Mojito, Voyager.
* Bourbon - Curiosity, The Big Bang.
* Tequila - Mercury Rising, Red Planet.
* Non-Alcoholic - Endor, Halley's Comet.
* Vodka - Down to Earth, Titan, Apollo 11.
* Champagne - Hubble Bubble, Zero Gravity, Stardust.
* Premium - Starlight, Enterprise, Armstrong, Mars Rover, Jumping Jupiter.
You can find out the ingredients of the different drinks on their website. The names and variations of the drinks are likely to change every year due to the different themes they have in the Ice Bar.
Arriving at the Ice Bar
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The outside of the Ice bar has mainly black exterior with some tables and chairs outside, it looked very clean and also an expensive bar to visit. There was a roped off area which took you to a reception desk if you had a session booked or you could avoid the roped off area and just go into the top bar for a drink or head down the Restaurant which is located downstairs. When we arrived at the Ice Bar we went to the reception desk where I told the girl there that we had a booking for 2:45, although we were about 30mins early. She told us that was fine and printed off 2 tickets for us and told us we needed to keep hold of them to get our free drink once we were in the Ice Bar. She pointed to an area where we could sit and wait for our session. This area was really comfortable with long sofas and chairs with tables. There was also a bar so you could have a drink whilst you were waiting. The bar here served a range of cocktails, wine's and champagne. They don't sell beer here. I didn't want a drink but my boyfriend purchased a drink which cost him over £7.00. At around 2:40ish we were called by a male member of staff to form a queue in the roped off area. He ran through some information with us such as what not to do in the ice bar.
We were told that we were going to be given a Poncho to wear in the ice bar which has gloves attached to keep us warm. He told us to use the gloves as it was going to be cold inside the Ice Bar (-8◦). He also told us to be careful when placing our ice glasses down as the surfaces can be a little slippery. He also told us not to smash the glasses or to scratch anything into any of the walls or other objects in the Ice bar. He advises anyone to pop to the toilet before entering the Ice Bar as there are no toilets once you are inside the Ice Bar. The toilets are located downstairs and are very clean and tidy. I can't fault the toilets in any way. One by one we had to step forwards where a Poncho would be thrown over the top of our heads which is when we could enter the Ice Bar. It only took a few seconds for each person to get their poncho on and ready to enter the Ice Bar. The poncho's are a metallic blue colour and have a hood which has a fake fur trim around the edge.
Inside the Ice Bar
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You will walk through 2 sets of automatic doors which open as you walk towards them. This takes you into the Ice Bar where you can immediately feel the cold against your cheeks and hands if you haven't already put your gloves on. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the array of beautiful colours and lights in the bar which included blues and purples. The first thing I noticed was a tall block of ice which had a globed carved into it; this looked amazing from lots of different angles. The 2nd thing I noticed was how small the room actually was. I was expecting a slightly bigger room and was a little surprised at this as it looked slightly bigger in other photo's that I have seen. Everyone headed over to the bar area which was very large and looked stunning made out of ice. There was a forest/tree design on the bottom of the bar which looked beautiful as it was lit up in a very light blue colour. There was a few drink menus' on the bar where you could choose your drink.
There was one bar man behind the bar whom took the drink orders from you and then you would hand your ticket over which you originally got when first entering the location. The drink sizes are rather small, how-ever I found them quite strong and actually only managed to drink half of mine and then gave the rest to my boyfriend. The ice glasses the drinks are served in are square in shape and although it looked rather hard to drink out of the ice glass it was easier than I expected. It was much easier to hold the ice glass with your gloves on as the glass can get rather slippery and also very cold in your bare hands. We moved away from the bar area and took a good look around. There was a seating area over to the right where at least 5 people could sit. The seats have cushions on but are made from ice and the table is also made from ice. This area got full up pretty quickly so me and my boyfriend stood for a little while on one side of the room which has a shelf where you can place your drink.
There was an ice sculpture which had various holes in in which looked great when a picture was taken from the other side as you could see your reflection in the ice. There was also a little bit which I called an igloo which you could walk inside. (You had to crouch down to get inside). This area was quite good, but could only fit about 2 people in at a time. Me and my boyfriend liked this area as it lit up different colours and gave a slightly strange illusion to your body when taking a picture from the other side. There was another small seating area which was up 2 small steps and lit up in different colours. In this area you could see a range if drink bottles behind some ice which looked really good. This gave the illusion that the bottles of drink were actually in the ice walls. This seating area had a moon in the corner which lit up. There was lots of detailing on the walls in this area and it looked stunning. We couldn't get into this area as the people who first came into the bar seemed to hog this area for the whole session which was slightly annoying and also rather unfair. You could easily get at least 6 people in this area.
You could tell how cold it was in the Ice Bar as although the floor is metal it feels slightly sticky from where your feet stick to it a little due to the cold. There were at least 20 of us in the Ice Bar during the session and although the area is smaller than I expected it doesn't get too cramped which is good. The poncho's which they give us to wear help to keep you warm during your visit and they are comfortable to wear. As the poncho doesn't have sleeves it's easy to move your arms about. I did find that your ears and face can get a little cold so I wore the hood to the poncho up during my visit. The gloves that are attached to the Poncho are thick and these keep your hands really warm and give you a good grip when holding your ice glass. We got chatting to the bar man whom was serving the drinks and he told us how the design of the Ice Bar changes every year. He also tells us that every 2 months the top of the Ice bar gets re-made. If you don't wish to stay in the Ice Bar for the full 40mins you can cleave when you wish simply by pressing the button next to the automatic doors. When you walk out someone will be there to take your poncho off you and you can then leave the location. Me and my boyfriend stayed in here for at least 25mins before we decided to leave. Some people left the bar after about 15mins which we were a little surprised at.
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I couldn't wait to visit the Ice Bar and once we got to the location and my boyfriend knew we were going inside he was also looking forwards to it as well. In terms of size the Ice Bar is smaller than I imagined and I was a little disappointed by this. Once in the Ice Bar we were amazed by the Ice Walls, Ice Bar and different carvings in the room. Me and my boyfriend really enjoyed looking at the details on the walls which lit up different colours throughout our session here. Although the seating areas get taken up quickly, me and my boyfriend were happy to stand as we wanted to look around the whole Bar anyway rather than just staying in one place for the whole session. The range of cocktails in the Ice Bar was reasonable but I found them quite strong. I loved the ice glass which we had to drink from which was so different to drinking out of a normal glass. The ponchos did a really good job of keeping us warm and the gloves were nice and warm as well. Although we were a little shocked at how small the Ice Bar actually was we really enjoyed our experience here and would definitely visit here again maybe in about 1 year's time when there are new carvings and designs on the walls of the Ice Bar. I would definitely recommend other people to visit here as it's a really good experience and you will be amazed at the fact that everything inside the Ice Bar is made and carved from Ice, it's really fascinating and actually really hard to believe. You can purchase some Ice Bar merchandise such as a candle holder, t-shirt and even a glass which looks like the Ice Glass you drank out of when you were in the Ice Bar. I can't really fault anything about my experience here as it was fantastic.
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Address: 31-33 Heddon Street, London, W1B 4BN
Phone: 020 7478 8910
Directions - As the Ice Bar is in London it's probably best to use public transport to get here. From London Waterloo you need to get on the underground (Baker Loo Line) towards Queens Park. Get off at Piccadilly Circus (3rd stop) and then walk to the Ice Bar which will take about 5 minutes.
(review will also appear on ciao)
Summary: The Ice Bar London