By Meaghan Clark
Cool down, and stay for a while – it’s the world’s chilliest places to drink, but we’re not talking about trekking to Antarctica or Russia for that- just hop over to your neighborhood ice bar, if you’re lucky enough to have one, to sip vodkas the way they were meant to be enjoyed: in a frozen cocktail glass.
Red Square, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
Red Square’s Russian influence is apparent the moment you spot Stalin’s headless statue standing adjacent to Red Square’s entrance. Aside from the sparring Russian red lining the windows and mosaic propaganda framing each wall, Mandalay Bay’s signature restaurant got really authentic when they built a vodka vault set to a freezing -5 Celsius. The hidden temperature-host, set in the corner of the bar, is a frigid reminder of how real vodka should be enjoyed – naturally, with faux fur parkas and Stalin’s head. Interior glass closets showcase a selection of vodka members who pay annual fees to enjoy their choice of spirits whenever in town, while parties are offered up more than 200 varieties to shoot or savor for as long as they can take the temperature. Showing off exactly what they’re missing by drinking the Russian vodka in Vegas, not Moscow, the vodka vault is a chilly start to any night in Vegas.
Nic’s Beverly Hills
Nic’s Beverly Hills might be the coolest vodka bar, and not just because it’s Vodbox is set to a teeth-chattering 15 degrees. The aptly named freezer is Nic’s Beverly Hills main attraction, rather than the celebrities who tend to waltz through the door. Going with the whole ‘best way to drink vodka’ thing, Nic’s covers up guests with faux leopard print jackets, and warms them up with international throat burners. The real punch are the 30 hand selected bottles of vodka via Nic’s local vodkateaur. With familiar friends Absolut, Belvedere, Grey Goose and Vox on the list, some newcomers like Poland’s Chopin, Sweden’s Carlson’s Gold and Russian’s Kauffman really set the international tone. It’s a short cry from Moscow, but if you’re ready to throw one back like the good ol’ days of college, Nic’s Beverly Hills has got you covered, literally.
If you thought things couldn’t get colder in an icebar, step into the thermal cage that is the Icebar Stockholm – an icy escape that isn’t just dedicated to the freezing temperate for delicately handling your alcohol, but icy surfaces all around. That’s right - as the bar of the famed Icehotel, the Icebar is just one part of the landscape of freezing cold flavors that are included in your Icehotel stay. Featuring four international locations, the Icebar Stockholm is chilled to a perfect -5 degrees Celsius and serves up signature cocktails in crystal clear ice chalices that make sipping on the world’s strongest libation a cinch. From the cleverly concocted and aptly named snow flake (Absolut vodka, coconut, peach, pineapple, cranberry) to the Northern Cooler (Absolut, cointreau, mango puree, lemon, sugar), as attractive as the Icebar might be for its affiliation with certain types of vodka, the location can likewise be a family affair.
Minus5 Experience, Las Vegas
It’s not that often you see parkas and Russian Ushanka hats in Vegas – but then again, what happens there, stays there. In Minus5 Ice Bar, the self-coined “coolest experience” on the Las Vegas Strip that brings the experience of an Antarctic night north of the equator. With frosty temperatures that keep scantily clad patrons in a blue-hued 23 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 C), Vegas turns down the temperature at the Mandalay Bay and Monte Carlo. Originally discovered in New Zealand, this ice bar delivers exactly what it promises – a bar made entirely of ice, from the frozen benches to the décor, Las Vegas tourists have made the Minus5 a signature stop on their tour of the Strip. Despite the freezing temperature, patrons still manage to exude that kind of Pack Rat cool that only those in Las Vegas truly know how to appreciate, donning Minus5 signature parkas, hats and gloves.
VIDEO: MINUS FIVE EXPERIENCE