ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN The Huntington News, Sept. 12, 2013
By Sara Tucker, News Staff
Earlier this month, Boston gave a whole new meaning to the phrase, “pass me a cold one” with the opening of the world’s largest permanent ice bar in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. And no, this is not a bar that sells ice, like tea or oxygen bars, but rather a bar made completely of ice. It may be 75 degrees outside, but it is 21 degrees year-round in Frost Ice Bar.
With sculptures and posters of John F. Kennedy, drinks in glasses made of ice and the free use of a stylish jackets to stay warm, Frost has drawn many residents and tourists alike.
“We started this because we wanted to bring something different to Boston,” Colin McKenna, Frost’s assistant general manager, said. “Yes we’re a bar, but we’re an attraction above all else. We wanted to bring in something a little bit different that people probably haven’t seen before, something new and fresh.”
With the exception of the floor and ceiling, once customers pass through an airlock transition room, everything in the bar is made of ice. The walls, furniture, sculpture, glasses and even the bar itself are made from reclaimed water – 100,000 pounds of ice.
Immediately upon entry, visitors will see a two foot tall sculpture of the Boston Strong logo, complete with city skyline. To the right is a long ice bench lined with synthetic fur behind a small table, complete with a frozen ship in a bottle and stools that are essentially nothing more than blocks of ice. A standing bar runs behind the stools for people to stand and chat. Further into the room, more sculptures can be found: one containing a tea set, another with baseballs inside and a third with a row of rubber ducks – all enclosed in inches of solid ice.
The primary focal point in the room is, of course, the bar. About ten feet long, the bar houses several dozen bottles of liquor and tasty drink mixes. For those willing to pay an extravagant price of $11 for alcoholic drinks and $6 for non-alcoholic, Frost offers several drinks like “The Orange Line” and “1912.” “The Orange Line” was created as a toast to Boston’s orange line of the T, which celebrates its 111th anniversary this year. It contains vodka, cointreau, cranberry juice, lemon juice and, of course, orange juice. The “1912” pays homage to Fenway’s opening, and the Red Sox World Series win later that year, and consists of cucumber vodka, Altar Chi herbal mix, ginger liqueur and ginger beer.
As New England’s first, and the world’s largest ice bar, McKenna doesn’t seem too worried about the numbers of people coming in.
“We’ve been busier than we thought we would be. I knew we’d be busy, but it’s been very well received, which has been great,” McKenna said.
And to those worried about energy use and waste, note that the bar actually uses less energy now than it did before the ice was installed, because the design of the space is smarter than that of the office space found there previously. Frost Ice Bar’s website notes that the secret to the bar’s success is the conservation measures installed before the ice was brought in. Five times more insulation was used in the building process than in that of regular buildings, and it includes an airlock transition room, where visitors stop for a little history of the bar before heading in.
Frost issued a Sustainability Promise, in which it noted that, if necessary, the bar could stay frozen for up to a week without consuming any energy. In other words, the bar could stay under 32 degrees for an entire week with zero cooling.
Tickets can be reserved online or purchased in house at $17 for students and $19 for regular adult admission. Groups enter the bar every 15 minutes, and tickets must be purchased for a certain time slot ranging from 12 to 10 p.m., seven days a week. A parka and gloves are provided with tickets, and boots can be rented for another $6 for those who come in wearing flip flops or sandals. Seasonal drinks are served, and at least one non-alcoholic drink is always on the menu. The numerous drink options, icy cool atmosphere and frequent hours have brought in many people since the bar’s opening earlier this month.
“It’s been great, it’s been very successful. Hopefully this will carry through the winter, and next summer we’ll be even busier,” McKenna said.