Our piece on the Minus 5° Ice Bar in Las Vegas (along with our Top Cocktails Bars in Las Vegas) have been extremely popular on Drink Spirits. When we got word that Minus 5° was opening an outpost of its popular bar in New York, we decided to send Dewayne Evans to check it out. He files this chilly report on New York’s “coolest” new bar:
Wintertime in New York City is normal, but wintertime in August? That’s what the Minus 5° Ice Bar inside the New York Hilton Hotel is trying to create.
Before walking into the main ice bar, you’re escorted to room which is kept at a chilly 38 degrees. This prep room feels cold, but is nothing compared to what you experience inside the ice bar. In addition to preparing you with a lower temperature, Minus 5° also equips each patron with a parka and gloves to protect from the elements inside the main ice bar. Once everyone is ready, another door opens and you walk into an arctic man-made ice heaven where the temperature drops to 23 degrees Fahrenheit, which is -5 degrees Celsius , the inspiration for the name “Minus 5°.”
During my time in New York, I have seen many things I know I wouldn’t normally see anywhere else, but the experience at Minus 5° is simply breathtaking. Almost everything in the Minus 5° Ice Bar is made from ice: the seating, glasses, walls, and, of course, the bar itself. The attention to detail is simply amazing, with several New York themed ice sculptures (most notably the rendering of Lady Liberty), and a Central Park area complete with ice benches that are duplicates of the real ones in Central Park.
The Minus 5° drink menu is all ice inspired, with “Frosty Mojitos,” “Ice Mans,” and a plethora of other winter-themed cocktails, all served in glassware made of ice. Given the conditions in the Minus 5° Ice Bar, there are limitations as to what drinks can be made, and most of the drinks tends to be on the sweeter side. That said, you don’t really go to Minus 5° for the drinks – it’s really about the experience.
The amount of time people spend in this icy wonderland varies, but the entire experience can be comfortably had in about an hour (after that, the cold becomes pretty rough). The staff at the Minus 5° Ice Bar really add to the fun while managing the packs of people coming in and out. Each coat and each pair of gloves are cleaned immediately after they are worn, and the Minus 5° staff does a terrific job of quickly turning these around.
Minus 5° in New York is a fantastic way to escape from the summer heat while offering a unique drinking experience. The Minus 5° Ice Bar is located at 1355 Avenue of the Americas between West 53rd and 54th streets in Manhattan.