Absolut Ice Bar Stockholm, Sweden



There are mittens for a reason.

Ice themes always keep cool in clubland, but this month our Stalkers chilled out at the world’s first “ice bar” in Stockholm, Sweden. The bar opened in 2002, and by 2003 it was a tourist attraction and Absolut Vodka had climbed on board as an official sponsor.

The entire venue is made of ice, and must be kept at a frigid non-adjustable -5° C (23° F). To maintain the temperature, the room has a capacity of only 30, but does plenty of business, getting patrons in and out in 30-minute stints (again to keep it cold).

And you think venues in the U.S. renovate often? Every six months this entire place gets melted down and rebuilt with frozen water from the local Torne River, to keep the ice as clear and freezer-burn free as possible. More ice bars are already spreading into Europe, and there’s talk of American locations as well, so prepare yourself with stories from our NightStalkers, who bared the cold for the sake of nightlife journalism…or daring alcoholism.

Stalker #1
Traveling to Stockholm for a school-paid spring break trip with mostly guy friends, this chick decided to do the research first and set out to find the mecca of Sweden, Ice Bar. Once I rounded up the boys we headed to the Scandinavian-chic hotel Nordic Sea, where Ice is located on the lobby level. We paid our cover, let them dress us in special silver-colored capes and entered the first chamber. Once the door was shut we walked into the actual bar. It was even colder than expected so I pulled up the fur trimmed hood and figured PETA freaks were too hot-headed to be anywhere near here anyway.

I had an Absolut Hot Passion in an ice glass. And while it resembled neither heat nor passion, the excitement of being in this place – and the vodka I had prior to coming – helped it warm my belly. I snapped pictures and thanked God there were no seats because my butt would most definitely have frozen off. After finishing off the drink and a disposable camera I dragged the boys out of there, contemplating where to go next since this was the only item on my itinerary.

Stalker #2
Having an abnormally high body temperature I scoffed a bit at the parka they put on me as I walked up to Ice Bar. When I learned the parka was not only to keep patrons warm, but to keep the bar from being tainted by our body heat I suddenly realized how dangerous I was. I mean, clearly I posed a much greater threat than other customers like the petite Brit in front of me, who’d chill the room all night, but improperly outfitted I’d walk five steps and melt the place down.

So I accepted the bulky garment, got into the rituals of Ice Bar and enjoyed each of my 30 allotted minutes. The first minute I spent observing the place and the second, of course, I spent ordering a drink. Hey I’ve already paid the cover and plan to get the drink it includes before my friends get too cold to stay. So I picked one of the fruity Absolut mixed drinks, which wasn’t hard: As the sole sponsor of the place, all the drinks are Absolut-based, and “Absolut” is etched all over the ice furnishings and giant vodka bottle sculptures. The drink comes in a thick cubic ice “glass,” and let me warn you from experience: Do not pick it up with bare hands.

Putting my macho aside, it was time for me to slip on the knitted mittens hanging from the parka and drink my ice drink like a girly man. After 20 minutes of snapping photos, and toasting and glugging with my friends the cold had set in pretty hard. Even my freakishly high body temperature was starting to drop.

The first day in Stockholm we slept almost all day and woke only to find that everything is super-expensive and carries a nice little 25 percent sales tax. We decided to finish off a liter of vodka from the duty-free store before venturing out to this amazing bar. When we got there, we were given these parkas and gloves and entered a sealed bar where everything is made of ice! The glasses, the tables, the bar....every-thing! We got one super-weak drink (which actually started to form chucks of ice not alcoholic enough to not freeze) for 140 Kr, which is a little more than 20 dollars. So of course our experience had to be short-lived…oh yeah, and it was also pretty damn cold and they limit you to 30 minutes with a 30-person cap to avoid a meltdown. So we moved on to markedly less cool, more standard clubs, with hefty covers and blackjack…ahhh Sweden.

Copyright 2005 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2005 TESTA Communications