June 2002 was when the world’s first ice bar opened in Stockholm. It took Delhi almost eight years to catch up. But catch up well it did. Early this year, two ice bars opened nearly simultaneously in the Capital — the ice lounge at Saket’s MGF Metropolitan Mall and Freeze at Rajouri Garden’s Westgate Mall. The latter is where we decided to head one evening, trying to figure out how Delhi has interpreted this hitherto unknown concept.
For the uninitiated, an ice bar is one where everything — right from the seats to the décor items to even the glasses you are served your drinks in, are made of ice. The temperature is artificially maintained at sub zero levels and guests are supposed to don special thermal jackets to keep themselves warm.
Into ice land Freeze is located on the second floor of the popular mall and has an edge over the competition in being the only one which also serves food inside the ice bar area. The temperature is maintained at minus 10 degrees at all times. A small changing area outside the bar was well stocked with thermal jackets and caps which turned everyone into similar looking eskimos and once inside, gave me a hard time trying to locate my companion.
The actual bar area is not very big, with an ice counter at one end and a few seats at the other. But no one seemed to be interested in sitting, as guests invariably got busy with touching the walls and sculptures, trying to figure out if it was real ice. It was. Cute tic-tac-toes made out of ice added a dash of quirkiness to the décor as neon lights and foot-tapping music from the DJ console ensured that the atmosphere was happy and charged. At the time of our visit, the place hadn’t got a liquor licence, and was hence serving mocktails in ice glasses. Some cold cuts and an assortment of grilled snacks made their way inside and were hurriedly consumed, as the maximum time one can stay inside is around 45 minutes. One can have a conventional meal at the grub zone.
Despite the relatively high price of Rs 1,000 per person for the overall experience, Freeze has a good going in store because of the sheer novelty of the experience. Looks like Delhiites need no longer look sideways when guests from abroad boast about the fun they had in the ice bars of Europe.