Chilly New Ice Bar Minus5 Melts New York's Heat Wave

Category: Media & Culture / Jul 09, 2013 4:03PM EDT

Amid excessive heat warnings in New York City tourists and locals are finding refuge in a frosty new addition to Manhattan's bar scene on Monday (July 8).

It's called Minus5, an ice bar located just north of Times Square at the New York Hilton on Sixth Avenue.

About 50 people can fit in the nippy 1,200 square feet (111 square meter) space as they sip vodka-based concoctions in meltable ice glasses shipped from Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Las Vegas.

Tourists are enjoying the chilly new hang out.

"Clearly we're not at a normal bar. Yeah, this is pretty cool so far. I've never really been in anything like this before. The cold doesn't really bother me too much but it's pretty cool,” Robert OlivieriDallasTexas.

"The ice sculptures are beautiful and we just came because out feet were cold" said Manhattanite Theresa Buccellato taking a break in the lobby. "So we just came to warm up a little bit and the we're going to go back in,” Theresa Buccellato – New York, NY.

For a $20 (USD) cover charge guests are outfitted with parkas and gloves. Another $25 and they can opt for brown faux fur. Or for an extra $75 visitors get the VIP package, which combines a faux fur plus hat, cocktail and a souvenir photo.

The Eskimo clad patrons are first escorted to a chamber registering a brisk 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius). Here they can transition before saddling up to the bar made of solid ice and experiencing the final 23 degrees F (five degrees C), which gives the bar its name.

There's much more than a typical restaurant freezer keeping Minus5 at minus five Celsius.

"We put a couple of million dollars into some serious computerized refrigeration equipment that really take into effect ambient heat, body heat, humidity, summertime, wintertime, volume of people coming in and out. It's a science to keep this whole environment, no window, humidity at the right temperature,” said Noel Bowman, President of Minus5 Management Company.

Guests are welcome to stay as long as they like but given the polar temperature most usually stay only an average of 45 minutes.

Minus5 was conceived of in 1999 by Craig Ling of New Zealand who took the design of a Russian vodka bar with an ice interior and applied the concept to an entire bar.

Video Credit: Reuters