Summer has arrived in New York City with a vengeance. The subways are hot and crowded, the humidity levels have been almost unbearable, and trying to get anywhere without sweating profusely is basically impossible. So what better way to beat the heat than to visit Midtown Manhattan’s newest attraction, Minus5° Ice Bar? Located inside the New York Hilton Midtown, Minus5° Ice Bar is just what it sounds like: a bar made entirely of ice.
And I mean everything. The seating, glasses, walls and, of course, the bar, are all pure ice. To experience this amazing place, guests can choose one of three packages: Admission Only, Fur Coat (faux of course), and VIP. Admission Only gives you access to the bar and use of a parka and gloves. The Fur Coat package gives you access to the bar, an upgrade to a faux fur coat (in white or black), and gloves. The VIP package is like the Fur Coat package, but also includes a souvenir faux fur hat, a 5×7 framed photo, and one cocktail. Professional photographers are also on hand to take pictures for a nominal fee, as electronics are not allowed because of the temperature in the bar. For visitors’ convenience, there are individual lockers in the reception area where electronics and other items can be stored free of charge.
Guests wary of wearing coats worn by others should fear not, because each coat and pair of gloves is used only once before cleaning. When guests are done with their experience, the coats and gloves are handed to one of the friendly staff members to be cleaned daily, which made my obsessive-compulsive photographer extremely happy. Fresh coats and gloves are brought to the reception area on a frequent basis, ensuring visitors never have to worry about waiting for a parka or faux fur.
Before walking into the main area, you are taken to a room which is kept at a balmy 38 degrees, in order to prepare you for the bar itself. After that, another door opens and you walk into a winter wonderland, where the temperature drops to 23 degrees farenheit, equal to -5 celsius, hence the name Minus5°.
I have seen many interesting and surprising things in New York, but I really was not prepared for what I saw here. It truly took my breath away because Minus5° is absolutely beautiful. The details are what make the bar an amazing place to visit. From the rendering of Lady Liberty, to the gorgeous Central Park area (which has ice benches that look just like the real ones in CP), to the intricately-designed VIP Room, I couldn’t help but stare at everything with my eyes wide open. Now I know how tourists visiting New York feel. If you can pull yourself away from the ice chandeliers, make your way to the bar to have a Frosty Mojito or an Ice Man, along with other cold weather-themed cocktails.
If you don’t plan on making it to Minus5° Ice Bar until later in the year, you will see a totally different scene, as ice carvers change the décor every six to eight weeks, creating a brand new experience. Minus5° opens at 2 p.m. every day and allows families with children to visit until 7 p.m. After that, it caters strictly to the adult crowd. Minus5° Ice Bar is located at 1355 Avenue of the Americas, between West 53rd and 54th Streets in Manhattan. For more information on prices, hours and group sales, go to www.minus5experience.com.
Photos courtesy of Patricia Morales.