It wont come as a surprise to any of you that I enjoy a beer or two whilst backpacking – well that’s just a small underestimate really…I do enjoy getting pretty messed up whilst traveling, but hey that’s all part and parcel of being in the backpacker bubble!
Much like the link between food and travel I find a great joy in sampling different cocktails and beers on journey too – whether it’s sipping Pisco in Peru, goon in Australia, buckets in Thailand or even just sampling the local beers on offer I’ll often be found kicking back in a pub or bar relaxing!
So when I was in Queenstown, New Zealand last week and noticed a sign for an Ice Bar I became very Intrigued!
I’ve always wanted to visit an ice bar – some backpacker buddies of mine have posted pics from them in far flung chillier climates but to have the opportunity to enjoy a truly ice cold beverage is something I was never going to pass up in a hurry!
Entry fee paid and parents in tow (yup I’m backpacking with my parents at the moment – but that’s another post all together!) we got suited and booted for a drink (or two) at the Minus 5 Ice Bar…
Now the thing about an ice bar is it’s bloody cold – so me rocking up in shorts tshirt was never the brightest idea – luckily for me Minus 5 provides you with everything you need; winter jacket, gloves and even some ugg boots if you fancy it!
Looking more like eskimos than bar patrons we were escorted into the bar (essentially an industrial sized freezer!) to let our ice experience begin…
To my surprise the bar was rather small in size but it was a pretty epic sight to behold…literally everything was made of ice – from the chairs and tables right down to the cups and shot glasses themselves!
With our breathe hanging in the air we got cracking on the cocktails – all mixed up by a rather chilly looking barmaid.
Of course once the first round was in came to obligatory ice bar photos – a fairly difficult endeavor given the fact it was actually -8 in the bar at the time and you have to remove your gloves to get an iPhone touch screen to work!
Despite the rather compact size of the place they had managed to fit alot in and the entire place was adorned with pretty amazing ice sculptures – from the shelves of the bar itself through to the Maori inspired centre piece, a full sofa (which came with a deer skin throw to stop you sticking to it!) and even a gorilla head bin for your used “glasses”.
The whole bar was beautifully lit too with mood lighting changing from blues and greens through to purples, all illuminating and bouncing through the ice – which made it a great place to get some unique shots.
Not Bad Value Either!
Considering the cost of things in NZ the ice bar was actually pretty dam good value for money – with entry costing $20 or the entry and 2 cocktail package being $38. Given the fact you can easily pay $20 for cover charge in this part of the world being able to score some $10 cocktails (which were really tasty and pretty strong too!) is a backpacker bargain, let alone being able to chill out – quite literally – in somewhere as unique as Minus 5.
If you fancied coming back a few times you could find the bar has completely changed too – about 3-4 times a year their ice sculpture dude comes back and gives the place a complete make over!
I’ve seen some shots from their xmas period and the whole place looks like santas grotto! Epic times!
However it is the only bar I’ve actually been keen to leave for a while! After 2 drinks my hands were suitably numb and walking back into the balmy Kiwi autmun heat was very welcome!
Still it’s a great experience and definitely a place I’d recommend for a pre drink – or a date if you’re feeling a little bit swarve!