Where to Frost Ice Bar, a new place to get your drink on in Faneuil Hall. The entire establishment is made out of ice, and it’s 21 degrees inside.
What for That’s the question, isn’t it. Novelty, bragging rights, photo opportunities, and the chance to sip cocktails with friends while wearing extremely flattering insulated ponchos.
The scene The ice bar shimmers in the blue light. Warmly clad bartenders hand patrons drinks in tropical hues — pink, yellow, bright orange. Even the glasses are made of ice. Groups of 20-somethings sit on ice benches in ice alcoves, their heinies protected by fluffy white rugs. Strings of giant ice cubes hang from the ceiling, the frozen cousin of beaded curtains. A contingent of blond women recline on one another on a long ice bench, giggling. Looking distinctly Oompa-Loompan in their ponchos, furry hoods up and black gloves on, friends take pictures of one another: in front of the portrait of JFK, standing inside the giant ice sculpture of a swan, next to the words “Boston strong” encased in ice. Just about everything you can think of, in fact, is encased in ice: rubber ducks, model ships, flowers, baseballs.
What you’re eating Sadly, nothing, unless you smuggled in your own chips. Because of the cold and a 45-minute time limit (not strictly enforced), Frost Ice Bar doesn’t serve food. It’s a missed opportunity: Oysters! Gazpacho! Ice cream sundaes! Think of the possibilities.
Care for a drink? The cocktails have names like the Orange Line and the Green Way. The Engine No. 7 “pays homage to our Nation’s first fire department founded here in Boston in 1649 and first pumper engine.” A potion of tequila, agave syrup, lime, and red pepper puree, it sounds warming. But the Old North Ender is a better drink — with vodka, limoncello, and sparkling wine, it is a bit like drinking summer lemonade in an igloo.
Overheard People arguing over where to stand for photos. People asking other people to take pictures of them. People jockeying for a coveted spot in the ice swan. People talking about how freezing they are. “Whenever I see ice bars online, it’s always with a bunch of people sitting on a block of ice and frowning,” says a young man to his group of friends, who all appear to be having a great time. “Don’t put your drink down,” someone warns. “It will slide.” An in-house photographer swears to a customer that she isn’t cold: “I have snow pants!” The experience isn’t without anxiety: “I’m worried I’m going to slip and fall,” someone tells her friend. But there is a plus side. “This is a great place to get picked up if you’re feeling bad about your body,” notes one woman, snuggling into her poncho. Ultimately, however, it’s time to leave the cold behind. “I’m going to a party in Southie,” someone says. “She has a roof deck.”
Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston. 617-307-7331. www.frosticebar.com.
Devra First can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.