London Part 8: Chilling at the Icebar and Belly Laughs in Greenwich

Once we’d had our fill of wandering the shopping districts (strange to have aimlessness after a day and a half of set itinerary!), we headed to the Icebar.

On the way there, we came across some memorial sites for David Bowie, who had died shortly before our trip. I remember it being surreal because I was still so shocked to hear about his death, it felt like it hadn’t actually happened. His songs on the radio made up our soundtrack that weekend.

2016 London January Bowie Memorial small
Memorial at the site of the Ziggy Stardust plaque in London.

After pausing briefly at the site, we went to wait outside the Icebar until our reservation time.

The aptly named novelty bar is, as one might expect, completely made of ice. The walls, the seating, the bar from which you order, and even the glasses your drinks are served in. From what I’d been told, there were also ice sculptures you could pose with to take selfies.

2016 London January Ice Bar Rocks Poster small
Waiting outside the Icebar.

It didn’t take too long before we were let in. The staff clad us in unshapely blue robes with hoods and gloves to keep warm, and told us we had a 45 minute time limit before it became unsafe for us to be in the cold much longer (lol…you can tell they don’t get -45C winters…).

Then we were given cards with the drinks menu (our entry fee came with a free drink included), and we were unleashed into the cold.

Inside was dark, lit like a nightclub, absolutely crammed with people, and, of course, cold. The crowdedness might not have been so bad if it hadn’t been for the low ceiling and large ice props, but as it was we were like penguins huddling in an Antarctic colony.

2016 London January Ice Bar Glass Moustache
Doesn’t quite capture the scale of people inside, but there’s the interior. Photo credit…Holly?

First things first, we checked out the drinks menu and got some cocktails.

2016 London January Ice Bar Through Counter small
To the bar!

The mixology was unlike anything you’d find elsewhere and was absolutely delectable – though quite sweet if that’s not your thing. Honestly if I could have afforded it (and had the liver of a Korean businessman), I would have tried everything available.

2016 London January Ice Bar Glass small
My ice glass on the ice table. I believe I got “We Will Rock You”, a passionfruit vodka mix.

The music was thumping so loud we couldn’t really hear each other. And it wasn’t just the music that was aurally overwhelming: a group of cackling middle-aged women were drunk off their tits in the only corner with any seating.

We hovered awkwardly for a few minutes without anywhere to stand, then decided to start posing with the available backdrops.

2016 London January Ice Bar Group Shot
Ice Bar fashionistas. Photo credit Tony.

Some of the sculptures in there really reminded me of the Ice Museum in Seoul.

2016 London January Ice Bar Skull
Giant ice skull! Photo credit Tony.

Possibly the most impressive thing in there (aside from the tastiness of the drinks) was the art on the walls. Literally all of it was made out of ice, the “shading” consisting only of a differing density of bubbles released into the freezing water.

2016 London January Ice Bar Ricky and I Against Rockstar
That girl behind us. All ice. Bubbles and frozen water. Photo credit Tony.

The only down side of this experience is that I was really claustrophobic and subsequently anxious being there: the noise level, the darkness, the constant press of strangers…well, you can probably see in my face from some of the photos that I look a little uncomfortable. Likely it was the accumulation of crowds over the day.

That said, it was a super cool bar and I wholeheartedly recommend it if you’re in London. Try to book reservations at least a month in advance.

After we’d spent about 45 minutes inside – perhaps a little less as we were slowly being inched closer to the door by the increasingly drunk middle-aged women who had left their corner and were now teetering into everyone across the bar – we handed back in our thermal ponchos and headed out.

We were still so stuffed from lunch that we put off dinner and headed straight back to Greenwich. Just a few blocks from our hotel was our end-of-day treat: a comedy club called Up the Creek.

“Up the Creek” comedy club in Greenwich.

It was absolutely hilarious. I hadn’t laughed that hard in ages. Months later I’m still chuckling at some of those jokes.

Except for the closing act: I don’t think I understood a single punchline. It was one of those “you have to be British to get it” kind of ones…and I’m simply far too Canadian.

I really wish I remembered the names of the comedians who were on that night…ah well!

Just a fabulous end to the night though. We grabbed some nibbles for dinner, had a few more ciders in the lobby, and then passed out cold. Final step count of the day: 26, 283. Still haven’t beaten that record yet.

Stay tuned for Day 3 of my London adventure!

For the complete London adventures, check out the links below!

London Part 1: Cable Cars

London Part 2: The Tower of London

London Part 3: The Tower Bridge

London Part 4: Mulled Wine and End of Day 1, or The Importance of Down-Time

London Part 5: Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey

London Part 6: Palaces of Past and Present

London Part 7: Fancy Shopping, Japanese Food, and Geekery

London Part 8: Chilling at the Icebar and Belly Laughs in Greenwich

London Part 9: The London Dungeon

London Part 10: Museums, Tapas, and the End

4 thoughts on “London Part 8: Chilling at the Icebar and Belly Laughs in Greenwich

  1. Funny you finish your blog near the end saying the you “passed out cold” from the day’s outing. Fortunately it wasn’t in the Ice Bar. Next time you’re up in Canada you should try the Ice Hotel in Quebec City. That will certainly put a “chill” in your blood. But then again you’re used to -40C eh.
    BTW do the bar tenders change shift after 45 minutes too ?


    1. I was very curious about that! I did see them swap out but I don’t know if it was just because we happened to be there during shift change.

      And the Ice Hotel is totally on my bucket list!


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