I love, love, love London at Christmas, the crisp autumn air, the last leaves falling off the trees in Regents Park, the decorations in the shop windows and out in the streets, Father Christmas in Harrods… In fact, I love it so much that I will be doing a special trip this year on behalf of my readers to share the absolutely top experiences for the 2014 run up to Christmas.
To initiate my articles on all that is festive and fabulous, I wanted to introduce you to the ICEBAR London which I found after a visit to the ICEHOTEL. Why not try it out to cool down after a hard day of festive shopping. If you like it then I suggest your next stop is the the ICEHOTEL itself. In the meantime, you can test your tolerance to cold with a glamorous cocktail a stones throw from Regents Street with its Apple Store, Hamleys and of course the Flagship TopShop store for your “cheap but chic” Christmas outfits.
Happily I got together with Tom Hunter who manages the marketing of the ICEBAR to get to the bottom of this unique hangout that has iced up a small corner of central of London.
Tom, how do my luxury travel diary readers find your ICEBAR in London?
We’re located just off Regent Street in the Heddon Street Food Quarter, a lovely chic little space full of great restaurants with an amazing atmosphere day time and evening. Being right in the centre of London means we’re really easy to get to no matter what part of town you’re travelling in from. Oxford Circus and Piccadilly tube stations are both five minutes away, and of course we’re right in the best part of town for shopping too, so many people travel in specially spend their days in the stores then come to us for a well-deserved cocktail or two as part of their whole London experience.
What is the link with Northern Sweden?
We’re very closely connected with Jukkasjärvi in Northern Sweden because that’s where all of the ice for our bar comes from. The Torne River in Northern Sweden is home of the famous ICEHOTEL, and we work directly with the hotel artists on our own ice theme every year as well as sourcing all of our beautiful, pure ice from the same river. It’s really important to us that we use ice from a flowing river, as this means when the river freezes the ice is crystal clear rather than cloudy. The Torne River is one of the purest rivers in the world, and when the ice is polished and sculpted it’s amazing to see all of the cracks and flows in the texture of the ice; it’s just beautiful, and wouldn’t look out of place hung on the walls of Tate Modern.
Is it cold in the ICEBAR? Do I need to bring a ski jacket?
Yes, as the name suggests, this is a bar where the walls, sculptures, bar and even the glasses are all made from crystal clear ice, so we do keep the place at a pretty cool -5 degrees all year around. We provide warm capes and gloves for everyone to wear inside the bar though, so there’s no need for people to dig out all of their old ski kit before heading over for a visit. Also, feeling the cold is all part of the experience, right? We do have a lovely warm cocktail bar and restaurant as well as the ICEBAR itself though, so once you’ve been inside everyone’s very welcome to take time to warm up with us too.
What sort of crowd is attracted to the ICEBAR?
We’re not so much a bar that attracts a certain type of crowd, so much as a space that attracts people looking for an experience that’s different, fun and memorable. A huge proportion of people who visit us for the first time tell us that it’s because they know someone else who’s already been and had a great time. And of course we get people coming back every year to see each new sculpture theme as soon as we install it. Really if you like great food, delicious and clever cocktails (and don’t mind a bit of cold) we think you’ll have a great time.
Is there a separate restaurant or is food served at the bar?
We have a warm bar and restaurant as well as the ICEBAR itself, so you can get bar snacks or dine with us if you choose to and have what we call the full ICEBAR and DINE experience. The restaurant has just been totally refurbished, and looks gorgeous, and our chefs have worked equally hard to create a really delightful modern British menu that plays creatively with classic dishes.
Why should I come to the ICEBAR instead of other bars in London?
Let’s be honest, one of the things that makes London so great today is the number of fantastic bars and restaurants we have here. It’s the appeal of being inside a frozen ICEBAR that attracts people to visit us for the first time. I like to think it’s the friendliness of the staff and the deliciousness of the cocktails that keeps people coming back though.
Disclosure: Most of our property, service & product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced by any sponsor.