No need to ask for your drinks on the rocks at CHILL Ice House — Photo courtesy of CHILL Ice House
The one thing most people seem to know about Canada is that it excels at winter. If it isn't quite cold enough for you, though, consider visiting CHILL Ice House in Toronto. Who needs air conditioning in the summer when you can spend some time in -5 degrees Celsius (or a balmy 23 Fahrenheit)?
Ice, ice, baby — Photo courtesy of CHILL Ice House
CHILL Ice House was conceived by two brothers who have ample experience in sub-zero temperatures. Nic and Gresham Bayley began working within the family ice sculpture business. The popularity boomed, and the family built ice houses around the world, particularly in places where ice was a novelty, like Dubai and Thailand.
These ice warriors have a resume that spans the globe, with projects like a 30-foot-tall Disney Castle in Times Square, custom debris for NASA testing and close to 20 ice lounges around the world.
The ice bar awaits — Photo courtesy of CHILL Ice House
With so much ice-perience, Nic and Gresham decided to build a bar in a location known more for complaining about the cold than marveling at its beauty. But filled with the two p's essential for success – patriotism and passion – the brothers decided to change that.
"We wanted to bring it back to our home city!" says Nic.
The melting decor at CHILL Ice House might be a nuisance for the staff, but it certainly allows patrons to return while feeling like they are expanding their horizons.
CHILL Ice House boasts ice sculptures aplenty — Photo courtesy of CHILL Ice House
With three weeks to carve and 10 days to build, Nic and Gresham have found an occupation that will always keep them busy. From haunted Halloween houses to World Cup tributes, this bar has every opportunity to capitalize on seasonality.
The entrance fee of $18.95 pays for the rental of a fur-trimmed cape and 45 minutes of time in the bar for you to prove your ability to thrive in the frozen environs (or at least fake it). Rather than the usual "Shaken or stirred?" your first decision of the night will be between blue or red. Once you are snow-suited up, there are ample opportunities to take photos with Canadiana ice sculptures before you make your way to the bar.
Nic believes it's the perfect stop for a tourist to Toronto: "Canadian themed cocktails, munchies and retail keep visitors intrigued. We are the only place in Toronto that has glasses make out of ice!"
Bring back the '80s, one ice sculpture at a time — Photo courtesy of Chill Ice House
Make sure to keep a tight grip on that glass. If last year's polar vortex was more than enough chill for you, rest assured: there is a warm-up room.
Forty-five minutes of your evening will grant you spectacular Instagram photos, but perhaps most importantly, drinking in a bar made of ice will get you some serious Canadian winter cred.
Thank goodness this is not the warm-up room — Photo courtesy of CHILL Ice House