‘Let me be the first to tell you, drinking alcohol is the worst thing to do in cold weather’ – Morgan Freeman
Being cold isn’t a natural state for me, I’m like a cat who likes to lie in the beam of sun streaming through the window. However I’ve always for some reason fancied trying out an Ice Bar and am always astounded to find that Ice Bars seem to pop up in the coldest country. We almost visited an Ice bar in Reykjavik and after dragging Dave around the city for 45 minutes looking for it, found out it actually shut 2 years previously. Attention to detail has never been a strong point of mine.
So imagine my joy when it was raining chair legs the afternoon we arrived in Bergen in Norway and the Norwegian chain of Ice Bars Magic Ice was a 5 minute walk from our apartment. We found the bar on a rather dull looking street about a 5 minute walk from the main marina in Bergen and after being relieved for 160 NOK (about £16) each, we donned our ponchos and gloves and took a deep breath before entering the pimped out refrigerator.
Dave’s been to an Ice Bar before in Prague when he was on a stag do so at least had something to compare it to, being my first time however I was surprised at how small it was inside. I think I imagined a full 3 story Wetherspoons (my main frame of reference when it comes to pubs) but just made of ice. Still, I guess that much ice would be difficult to maintain and you’d be forever losing staff to hypothermia.
What sets Magic Ice apart from perhaps other Ice Bars around the world is that it’s actually part Ice Bar part Art Gallery with recreations of some of the world’s most famous paintings as well as original sculptures from Norway’s most renowned ice carvers (if you ever knew such a thing existed).
When we arrived we were the only ones in at the time however as I say, its quite small so that didn’t matter too much. The bar man served our complimentary drinks (a traditional wine and crowberry juice mixture – which was really yummy!) and was super friendly chatting to us about the bar, showing us to the best seat in the house and explaining a little about the bar’s history and the ice sculptures within it. I always love hearing people talk passionately about where they work and who take the time to explain where you are and what you’re seeing.
After our little introduction we were left to sit and enjoy our drinks and have a look around. The Ice art and sculptures really are very impressive as are the little ice seating booths and ice table and chairs (that have sheepskin throws on them to stop your botty getting too chilly!) Our favourite though was the recreation of The Scream by Edvard Munch – much fun was had taking pictures with that one!
You get a maximum of 2 hours in the bar and further drinks are available after your complimentary glass of wine however we probably only managed about 45 minutes in there. The bar prices weren’t the most reasonable and after seeing all the art it does get a little chilly even with the poncho and gloves. I guess if there were more people in or you were having more to drink it would probably keep you warmer, however we had other things to see that afternoon so headed on our way.
As a one off treat I would definitely recommend giving Magic Ice a visit especially if it’s raining and you need to shelter for an hour or so, it’s fun a quirky and they’ve made a good effort in making it a little more interesting than just your bog standard cold room. A session pub however, it isn’t!
Address: C. Sundts gate 50, Bergen 5004, Norway
Phone Number: 4793008023