Google fb32x32 twitter linkedin feed-icon-32x32

Ice Ice Baby

Ice Ice Baby

April 07, 2011

Pop into an ice bar in Delhi or Mumbai for that bone-chilling drink.

If the scorching sun and the sweltering heat of an Indian summer drive you to the depths of the Himalayas or compel you to seek solace in chilled beers and lip-smacking ices, there’s good news for you. Let the mercury soar to 47° Celsius or more while you are pleasantly shivering at the coolest chill zone of the Capital. Welcome to the Ice Lounge right in the heart of Delhi, an enchanting world of pure ice bathed in a rainbow of psychedelic lights where the temperature always remains sub-zero. It hovers between minus 7°C and minus 10°C, but never goes above minus 5°C. 

The igloo-like ice bar is the new Mecca for jaded party-hoppers forever searching for out-of-the-box themes - people who don’t mind shelling out a thousand (INR, of course) for a quarter of an hour. But the place is worth it, judging by the interior, ambience and the services on offer. Forget the traditional lounge bar or pub. Nothing can be this dramatic, not even the recreation of exotic beaches or oriental islands that has been in vogue for some time. Here you are in a bar made entirely of ice. From the walls to the intricate sculptures within, from the bar counter to sofas and chairs – it took 35,000 kg of pure ice to build the frozen bar. Believe it or not, all the ice blocks were flown in from Canada before Julian Bayley sculpted the masterpiece.

Not much of an Indian touch there, right? Wrong. The co-founder of Ice Culture, the world’s leading designer of frozen bars, has done a wonderful job – thanks to his skilled craftsmanship and eye for detail. The theme is Mughal India and the exquisite motifs of Mughal architecture form the main design elements while the frozen showpieces are traditionally Indian. The Taj Mahal adorns one wall, the peacock (India’s national bird) occupies the centre stage behind the frozen bar counter, and there is an ice tigress with her cubs to remind you of the jungle. At the entrance, an ice lady greets you with a gracious namaste, to complete the Indian hospitality vibe.

Once you are inside the snow parlour duly attired in a toasty-warm parka, gloves and boots (the bar will provide all of these), it’s time to take your place on the ice sofa and gulp down a fiery shot from a goblet made of pure ice. Your lips might be blue with the cold while you sip your drink, but the flavoured vodka will soon warm you up. Yes, vodka is the beverage of choice in this frozen world as it is the only drink that won’t freeze at anything above minus 40°C. But there are other options available – Tequila, for instance, as well as Jägermeister (a popular fruit-flavoured German liqueur) and premium whisky labels. But there is no food to go with the drinks, as it may ruin the pristine snow zone. Neither can you overstay your welcome (45 minutes to be precise) or you may run the risk of a hypothermia.

In spite of the current rave reviews, the concept is not new in India. The country’s first ice bar 21 Fahrenheit was opened in Mumbai two years ago and instantly secured the same celebrity status. Located in Oshiwara, this ice lounge spans 800 sq. ft. of space that is strictly temperature-controlled. The interior is, once again, crafted from pure ice – pillars, artefacts, chandeliers, bar counter, seating and, of course, the glasses. Once inside, the icy chill and the dimmed blue-and-red lighting quickly set the mood. The menu is awesome and served flambéed.

Ice bars are pretty popular around the world and the first of its kind was opened in 1994 at ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden – some 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. Since then, chill zone culture has found many takers and you will find them in big cities such as London, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo and Dubai. One has been recently opened in Shanghai, China, and India, too, seems to be coming up in a big way. In fact, Delhi’s Ice Lounge was inspired by the Absolut Ice Bar in London. Co-owner Amrinder Singh was simply bowled over when he visited the place and later roped in his friends Kanav Chadda and Puneet Tayal to start a similar chill zone in Saket (South Delhi).

“People want to try out new things and they are ready to pay for it,” says Bangalore-based Prakash Merani, an IT professional with a love for all things gourmet. “Whether it’s drinking or fine dining, the concept has to be out-of-the-box to suit the taste of a fast-paced world. The Sports Bar and The Beach here are pretty cool, but the pub city eagerly awaits a feel of the chill people have in Mumbai and Delhi.”

If industry insiders are to be believed, more ice bars are on their way, with the mention of cities like Chandigarh, Pune and even Gurgaon. It is, undoubtedly, a fabulous experience and fast growing cities with a High Net Income customer base are most likely to witness more of these waterholes coming up. Till then, quench your thirst the traditional way and wait for the ice ice feel. 

1 Comment

  • Nikhil Roshan
    Nikhil Roshan
    08.04.11 01:11 AM
    Sounds Yummy!!! We'll try someday. :)

Leave a comment