Combine travel bloggers, a few cocktails, the theme of Lapland, plus a crash course in ice sculpting and what do you get? Polar bears … and the odd piece of male anatomy. Sometimes I wonder about the sanity of bloggers. There aren’t even any polar bears in Lapland.
Last week I had the very good fortune to be invited along to #LaplandinLondon at London’s BelowZero IceBar, courtesy of Cosmos Holidays. Located just off of Regent Street, Below Zero was a welcome surprise in terms of scale, design and fun. I say fun because prior to visiting BelowZero, I had once before visited an ice bar in New Zealand and found it not all that exciting to be honest. This time however, things were different. Very different.
It all started in the upstairs lounge with a few mojitos. Normally drinking on a school night is a big no no for me, but on this occasion I let that rule slide. Over said cocktails I caught up with a few blogger friends and set about enjoying our private bar area. The evening was nice and chilled (pun definitely intended) to this point with talk of Lapland and travel plans for 2014, but then out came the chisels … uh oh!
Around 8.30pm we were lead downstairs and handed chisels, gloves and a large block of ice. As mentioned in the opening paragraph our crash course in ice sculpting was to result in a polar bear. The example shown to us was incredible, but I’d like to think that our team were also suitably skilled. We chipped, chiseled and hacked away at our block of ice. At one point it looked like we had a bear with two rear end, but come the end of our allotted ice sculpting time and something beautiful had been created. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you, Barry the bear.
— Laura Dale (@TravellersInk) November 21, 2013
After unleashing Barry upon the world, it was time for yet more cocktails in the actual IceBar. Doning some rather snazy, but most importantly warm overalls, we headed inside the -5° IceBar.
Each year the bar is revamped and fully transformed using only ice from the Torne River in northern Sweden. Each transformation brings a new theme and the theme upon the eve of #LaplandinLondon was Frozen Architecture, which was more than evident from the skyline beautifully carved into the base of the bar.
Inside the IceBar yet more cocktails flowed. Colourful works of liquid art were served in glasses made of solid ice, mush to the joy and amazement of our group. As you might have guessed though, it was not only the glassed that were ice, absolutely everything was ice (like you hadn’t already guessed), from the bar, the the seated booth areas.
Suitably frozen, once our 40 minutes were up it was back downstairs for a short lesson in Lapland and some tasty treats. Whilst chomping on garlic pawns, rice balls and others foods I cannot remember the name of, our more than able hosts detailed to us a few facts about both Finland and Lapland, and why we should pay a visit. The northern lights were largely focused upon, and having been lucky enough to see those dazzling lights for myself, I could only sit back and nod in agreement as the presentation slides showed photo after photo the lights. Snow sports, incredible scenery, reindeer and of course Santa were other big selling points. The presentation didn’t last all that long, but it was long enough to stir up a bit of interest amongst those present. I bet a few people were looking into damaging their bank account by booking flights the next day.
A fab night was had all around. Maybe too fab for some, who once in the spirit, didnt know when to stop. Once I saw the Tequila make an appearance I decided to call it a night, but others were still going strong! I bet there were a few sore heads the next morning haha.
A huge thanks to the guys at iProspect and Cosmo Holidays for a great time.
Prices at the IceBar start from £13 per person (if booked in advance) for a 40 minute session, and go all the way up to £24 per person for a champagne session.