What is an ice bar?: Bar
Where is it? Yeti Ice Bar, El Calafate, Argentina
How much does it cost? $12 ($190 Argentine pesos)
How long do I need? 1 hour
Paying to drink in a -13° C bar doesn’t sound so appealing on its own, but when you couple that up with a fur trimmed polyester polar bear cape and unlimited drinks, you could talk us into it.
The Yeti Ice Bar in El Calafate is kitsch at its coolest. The bar is illuminated bright blue from the outside so you feel as though you’re walking into a glacier. After forking over your entry fee, you’re ushered into a second room where they wrap you in a polar bear poncho and slide rubber crampons onto your feet. It’s hard to say which part of the gear are novelty and which are actually functional, but the important part is that you have an outfit dumb enough for the experience.
The door opens to the ice bar and your 25 minutes begin. What is an ice bar, you ask? Well, Yeti Bar is a two-room ice bar with ice floors, walls, and ceilings. Most everything inside of it, from shotglass to sculpture, is also made of ice. On the right side of the room is the ice bar, fully stocked with sugarey liquors and ice shot glasses. Before you can can snag your first drink, you’ll be led around the room to pose for cheesy photos like some Olan Mills winter session. The photographers will ask you to hop on a sleigh, sit on an open palm made of ice, and climb into the lap of a creepier-than-usual Yeti for the sake of capturing this precious moment in life.
While you parade around, the bartender pours rounds of shots into ice shot glasses. The cough-syrup flavored liquor called El Calafate is the local favorite, but they offer a full range of saccharine shots in alarming colors. The speakers blast Latin American hits – reggaeton and outdated pop music – and the bartender laughs as if she hasn’t seen it all 212x before. For 25 minutes, you have a choice: freeze your ass off or get to dancing.
I wouldn’t classify an ice bar experience as sophisticated. If you don’t love the absurd, you won’t find the cocktails refined or the vibe quite right. You won’t want to overstay your 25 minutes or meet your friends there for a second round. Hell, you probably won’t even seek out an ice bar on your next vacation. But if you love bizarre experiences as much as we do, the Yeti Bar is sub-zero awesome. Here’s what an ice bar really looks like.
Not Chilling at the Yeti Ice Bar
Ice Bars around the World
Not in El Calafate? Here are some of the best ice bars in the world.
- Xtracold Ice Bar (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
- Icebar by Icehotel (Stockholm, Sweden)
- Frost Ice Loft (Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
- The Ice Bar at Hotel de Glace (Quebec City, Canada)
- Chillout Ice Lounge (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
- Ice Kube Bar (Paris, France)
- Minus 5 Ice Bar (Las Vegas, Nevada and New York City, New York, USA)
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