Arguably the “coolest” place in the world to grab a drink is at the IceBar, the world’s first permanent ice bar, located in the heart of central Stockholm. Off the lobby of the Nordic Sea Hotel, the IceBar is made entirely of ice, from the bar’s long counter to the seating, cocktail tables and impressive sculpted murals that adorn its frozen walls. An outpost of the famous IceHotel in Jukkasjärvi (Swedish Lapland) near the Arctic Circle, the IceBar, which opened in 2001, offers a taste of Lapland in an urban setting. Everything here, except the liquids the drinks are made of, is formed from ice from the Torne River in the north of Sweden.
After an entry fee (which includes one cocktail) is collected, visitors are taken to a cloakroom where cold-weather ponchos and gloves can be borrowed. The temperature inside the IceBar is kept at a constant -5 degrees C (23 degrees Fahrenheit), so you will want to wear the one-size-fits-all insulated poncho. Visitors enter an enclosed passageway before a second door opens into the bar—a necessary precaution to preserve the bar’s frozen interior.
The cocktail menu features Absolut vodka, Mackmyra whisky, Träkumla rum, Nils Oscar gin, and Grösttedt cognac as well as a selection of non-alcoholic drinks. Highlights include the “Snowflake” which is made with Absolut vodka, coconut, peach, pineapple and cranberry and the “Wolf Paw” in which Absolut 100 is combined with lingonberry and lime juice. Refills are SEK 30 less expensive if you re-use your ice glass.
Open year round, the bar is completely renovated every six months with fresh ice and new murals, which keeps it from looking tired. Reservations are encouraged. If booked in advance, the price per person is 180 SEK; drop-in sessions cost SEC 195; entry for children under 18 is SEK 140. Guests of the Nordic Sea Hotel pay 150 SEK. Visits are limited to 40 minutes.
If you are in the mood to continue the ice theme, stop by the NordicSea Hotel’s Sea Bar & Restaurant. The restaurant offers a prix fixe multi-course Ice Menu that features specialities from Swedish Lapland served on dinner service made of ice, from beginning to end. The cost of the pre fixe menu is 850 SEK, while the wine package is an additional 299 SEK.
Photo credit: Carrie Coolidge
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge