There is an ice bar in London and years ago I had intended to go there with some friends, but I had to pull out at the last minute.
When I was looking for things for us to do in Amsterdam, I discovered that there was an ice bar there too, so I added the Xtracold Ice Bar to my list of suggestions!
We went at the beginning of December, so we were already dressed quite warmly, but you also have to wear a special jacket and gloves when you go inside to make sure that you don’t get too cold because it’s minus 10 degrees in there!
Inside the bar, everything is made of ice – the walls, the bar, the furniture and some “cool” sculptures!
I think my favourite part was the polar bear ice statues, which had been carved out of blocks of ice. I liked the fact that they were tactile and you could feel the details of the head, ears, muzzle and big paws! I even took my glove off to feel how smooth he was, and I was very happy that my hand didn’t stick to him!
The bar is based on the experience of Dutch explorer Willem Barrentsz, who was stranded on the island Nova Zembla in the Arctic for 9 months.
In the ice bar, you can get either vodka and orange or just orange (I had just orange juice because I don’t like vodka), and it comes in glasses that are made of ice. They are very thick, presumably so they don’t melt, and it’s a funny sensation to be drinking out of ice glasses!
There is another bar outside the “freezer” and your ticket entitles you to a beer or a cocktail there as well. We had cocktails, which were very good!
I try to look for things to do that have some kind of sensory experience, and sitting in a bar at minus 10 degrees definitely ticked this box. You stay there for a limited time so you don’t get too cold, and to keep the flow of people moving. It’s a fun thing to do and I would recommend it to anyone else who wants to brave the cold! Having said that, it is cold, but not uncomfortably so. I felt worse when I locked myself out of the house in the middle of winter and had to wait in the snow for a friend to come and rescue me! So although it’s cold, the experience is more about appreciating the room made of ice.
Other Amsterdam posts
How about you?
Have you been to an ice bar? What did you think of it? Do you have any other tips for us for when we go back to Amsterdam?
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