So, what to do on a Friday night in London Town? Having exhausted the list of musicals and plays showing at The West End (well the ones Mr ESLT and I could agree on anyway) I trawled the Internet for fun things to do on a Friday evening in the capital. When the ICEBAR LONDON popped up in my google search results I knew I had found a winner! Even though we’ve visited many cities around the world with an Icebar we had never actually been in one.
I love a cocktail so this seemed like something cool (well freezing actually) to do. Each time slot is restricted to 40 minutes. So are the number of people allowed in at one time, so I advise booking in advance otherwise you may be left out in the cold (see what I did there?). On Friday evenings they offer a champagne session for £25 per person at 7.15 which includes one ‘glass’ of champagne and then a champagne cocktail of your choice. As a normal session is £16 each I think paying the few quid extra is completely worth it.
We arrived at 7.00pm like little eager beavers but no early admission is allowed here. So we patiently waited for our slot to open up. At 7.15pm on the dot we had a hooded cape expertly chucked over our heads and ventured into the icy depths of the bar. First impressions – wow! Why had we never been in one before? I was like a giddy school kid, breathing out and seeing my breath come out as a cloud of steam. At -5 degrees it was obviously cold but the cape and gloves that you are provided with keep you nice and toasty. We each grabbed a ‘glass’ (well actually a hollowed out ice cube) of champagne and set about exploring.
The bar area is actually a lot smaller than I expected and with around 50 people in there, there wasn’t that much room for manoeuvre. Lights are dim and music is piped through the area. People instantly started snapping away on their smartphones and cameras, photographing the bar, each other and of course themselves (us included). There is also an Icebar photographer in there who will take pictures of you and put them on the Icebar website for you to buy which I can’t imagine generates much business in the day of digital photography but it is fun to pose for a few frames.
Champagne downed we then had the (easy) job of picking another cocktail from the extensive menu. For me it was easy – strawberry! Any strawberry based cocktail has my name written all over it. As people drink at different speeds there wasn’t a rugby scrum to get to the bar to order the second round of drinks (which were yum). We decided to take a seat (of which there are only half a dozen or so) and observe and enjoy our surroundings. With a quarter of a glass left the lights flashed on and the music just stopped – it was kicking out time! Boooo where had the 40 minutes gone?
Draining our glasses we headed out and in a single stroke the cape was taken off and placed back on the hanger ready for someone else during the next time slot. I wanted to go back in instantly but the long queue of eager faces waiting patiently to have their turn implied that there would not be room for us. A great experience, you may think £25 is a bit pricey for a couple of drinks but knowing the price of a glass of champagne in London, this isn’t actually that much more than you’d pay elsewhere plus you get the added wow factor of walking in to what is in effect an igloo! I want to do it again as soon as possible – genuinely loved it and I’m not a person who really likes the cold! 🙂