London is filled with an eclectic mix of fabulous discoveries, from new musicals at West End Live and a restaurant in Soho which serves nearly all dishes with a variation of polenta, to a funky pop art exhibition at the Tate Modern. If there's something you're particularly fond of, then there's probably a place in Blighty's capital that can cater to your wishes. If, for instance, being surrounded by ice from the frozen Torne River in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, is your thing then you don't have to catch a plane to the Nordics to get that experience, a tube ride to Oxford Circus and a visit to Icebar London off Regent Street will do just fine.
I had the pleasure of experiencing Icebar London thanks to the latest outing from LDNmeetup, and as ever it was a joy to get the chance to discover something new while meeting other bloggers. We were welcomed by Lauren from LDNmeetup and after a deliciousy zesty cocktail (which was surprisingly strong!) and some tasty canapés (I particularly loved the different risottos), we were welcomed by Tom from the Icebar who was super appreciative of bloggers, which was really lovely to hear as so often bloggers aren't taken seriously by bigger brands and even if they are it's usually the few major ones that have millions of fans, not little old me with just 1,200 Twitter followers. He also gave us all a copy of Phoenix Magazine, which looks fabulous and I cannot wait to check out.
The main event was of course moving on from the welcome room into the actual bar made of ice. We were all given thermal capes and gloves before entering the hazy blue area, which is kept at a temperature of -5 degrees Celcius at all times to preserve the intricate carvings 'tattooed' in the ice and the ice sculptures. The theme of the Icebar changes annually and currently this is 'London Rocks', featuring rock band features and even a massive skull you can walk into. The ice area was a lot smaller than I expected (I had this very skewed expectation from the time I went glacier guiding in New Zealand. Note to self, it would be impossible to have a glacier off Regent Street), but what was there was very cool indeed. No pun intended.
The most fun was having the chance to drink a cocktail from a glass entirely made out of ice, which is so much nicer than having to fight against ice cubes trying to topple out every time I take a sip! Having once had my tongue stuck on an Popsicle (yes, really, I had to stick it under the warm water tap for several minutes to get it off – and it was painful!) I did worry that my lips would get stuck to the glass but thankfully this didn't happen. Instead it was a delight to drink from the ice and I wish I could now drink all my cocktails like this. Mine was the Jumpin' Jack Flash by the way, which was a tasty concoction made up of Absolut vodka, apple puree, passion fruit juice and lemon juice – yum. I highly recommend it.
While each session lasts up to 40 minutes, after about 20 minutes the cold had well and truly seeped into my body, despite the lovely fluffy coat, and we left for warmer pastures. That doesn't mean that we didn't enjoy ourselves however, on contrary, it was a joy to experience the novelty and pretend we were in Sweden for a little while. You can view a selection of my pictures from the event below and thanks very much to LDNmeetup and Icebar London for organising this chilly outing!
Credit for this photo of me and Laura goes to RDA Images