“Ice ice baby, Ice ice baby.” Vanilla Ice
What you need after a champagne fuelled afternoon tea is a cool bar to indulge in a few cocktails and nothing is cooler (quite literally) than ICEBAR, London! This iconic ice bar, located in the Heddon Street Food Quarter just off Regent Street offers guests a year round cold sensory experience right in the heart of London’s West End.
As well as the famous ICEBAR itself, the venue also has a warm cocktail bar and lounge which was the starting point of our experience. Arriving early for our booking, we were able to avail of the early offer price beverages that reverted back to their higher prices later in the evening. A full range of signature cocktails were on offer but we both opted for the Suicide Blonde, a delicious and refreshing blend of vodka, fresh lime, elderflower cordial and Prosecco. There is also a restaurant downstairs that serves a modern seasonal British menu available for a light snack or A La Carte dinner but we didn’t try that on this occasion due to the afternoon tea carb overload.
So what is ICEBAR London? The whole bar including even the walls and tables are made from the crystal clear Torne River ice which has been harvested from the winter wonderland of Jukkasjärvi in Northern Sweden, even the personal carved square ice block glasses were made of ice too! I booked in advance online (entry fee includes first cocktail inside the ICEBAR itself) and that proved to be a godsend as there was a full queue of people by the time we were due to go inside. The ICEBAR is located in a separate room on the ground floor, that is kept at a permanent chilly -5°C, but that’s not a problem as they provide very fetching thermal hooded blue capes with white fur trims and matching gloves to keep you toasty warm. The outfit definitely kept out the icy chill but to be honest we didn’t think it through as we were both wearing sandals so our feet were frozen!
Each group of guests are given a forty minute slot inside the bar that has been created from a very skilful set of ice designers and sculptors. The bar has different themes each year and when we visited it was ‘Food, Glorious Food’. The drinks were served from an impressive full-sized Pop-Up Food Truck cocktail bar made completely from ice, the cab of the truck is also a perfect photo opportunity spot too. A giant ice pineapple was located in one corner and an equally huge carved crystal clear frosted cupcake added to the classic American Diner concept, with everything backlit with a purple glow. The entire bar is completely transformed annually with a new theme and layout designed by the team and implemented by the skilled sculptors. Each time new ice is imported, the latest theme will be up and running later this month.
We only lasted thirty of our forty minutes as my friend’s feet were so cold that we needed to leave, I would definitely suggest warm covered footwear for this experience. A professional photographer is also wandering around to capture your experience like all good tourist attractions these days (photos available to purchase online after the event). You can also enjoy the complete ICEBAR Dining experience which combines a visit to the bar with dinner in the restaurant. The package includes entry and your first cocktail in ICEBAR paired with either a two or three course dinner. This experience lasts two hours and forty-five minutes overall but is not available on a Monday or Sunday due to the kitchen being closed on these two days.
This was a fun bar and a memorable experience, even though its been open for over ten years it’s obviously still very popular judging by the amount of people who exited the bar before us and those waiting in the queue to enter after our time slot ended. I recommend giving it a go if you fancy trying something different but definitely wear your warmest footwear and book online to avoid any disappointment on the day!
32-33 Heddon Street
Telephone: 020 7478 8910
Opening times: Monday: 15:30 – 23:00, Tuesday-Thursday: 14:00 – 23:00, Friday: 14:00 – 01:15, Saturday: 12:30 – 01:15 and Sunday: 14:00 – 23:00
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. Thank you ICEBAR London for providing the two professional photos (1 & 4) free of charge for use in this post. Ice Food Truck photo and logo used courtesy of http://www.icebarlondon.com