If you travel enough, sooner or later, you will be in a city with an ice bar. You don’t go to these for the slightly overpriced drinks. You go for the unique experience. Stockholm’s Icebar in the Nordic Sea Hotel (guests get discounts) is the second oldest behind the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.
In the bar, everything, from the glasses to the bar itself to the tip jar are made of ice. The ice is shipped from the Torne River in northern Sweden. Obviously, it has to remain below freezing inside the bar so that the ice doesn’t melt. The thermostat is set at -5 Celsius (23 Farenheit) When you sit on chair made of ice and hold a drink made from ice, you could get a little cold. Before entering, you are given a coat with a hood and mittens. It looks like the uniform of some sort of cult. It’s a metallic blue blanket with a fleece lined hood. They keep you warm, prevent your body heat from melting the ice and provide a neat photo opportunity.
Don’t stress over what you’ll get to drink. In the Absolut Ice Bar, your options are vodka, and, um, vodka.
Being from Michigan, we appreciate ice carving. In addition to the glass, made from a hollowed-out block of ice there were stools, tables, the bar, the tip jar and sculptures. It was to see the ingenious ways in which they made everyday items from ice.
The Ice Bar is small, holding only 35 people. If you are interested, book ahead or you will have to wait. Although the wait can be more than a half an hour, I hear that it’s easier to get in around 10:00. The maximum time in the bar without buying another round of drinks is 40 minutes. Don’t worry. You’re there for the novelty of it all and likely won’t want to stay longer than that anyway.
Alcohol is expensive in Sweden (explaining their enthusiasm for an open bar), but the Ice Bar is still more expensive than a regular bar. It’s something you do for the experience, and a touristy one at that. I doubt that you will encounter any Stockholm residents there. Regardless, it’s a unique experience and something you won’t forget.
- Millennium Trilogy Walking Tour Of Stieg Larsson’s Stockholm – Part One (schwingeninswitzerland.wordpress.com)