Minnesota is known for its winters, and there are plenty of unique ways to enjoy the season. These bars and restaurants have embraced the season with intricate ice carvings, themed bars, festive cocktails, bonfire pits and more.
As always, please celebrate responsibly.
Saint Paul Winter Carnival, St. Paul
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival always has an array of activities for visitors: music, a parade, ice carvings and snow sculptures, to name a few. But perhaps the best ice-related feature is the ice bar, allowing visitors to refresh themselves and stay cool throughout the festivities. In addition to Minnesota-made wine and beer, the ice bar also serves hot spiced wine. Find it in the heart of downtown at the newly renovated Rice Park.
A couple miles down the road, you'll also find an ice bar on the patio of Bad Weather Brewing on West Seventh Street.
Volstead House, Eagan
Volstead House will catapult you back in time with its modern rendition of a 1920s whiskey bar and speakeasy. This year’s ice bar will last for four weekends starting in late January, with a different theme every week. Accommodations include four tables with fire pits and standing torch heaters to keep you warm while you sip on a classic cocktail.
Social ICE, Rochester
Downtown Rochester’s Social ICE is more than your average ice bar experience—it's a full-blown winter extravaganza. Held annually in Peace Plaza, Social ICE boasts a wide assortment of themed ice bars, including showstoppers like Half Barrel’s Minnesota Wild bar and a “Ghostbusters” bar by Kathy’s Pub. You'll also find DJs and ice sculptures at this free, three-night event. Grab a signature drink from any of the seven participating bars throughout the weekend.
Birch's on the Lake, Wayzata
Birch’s on the Lake is where supperclub meets brewhouse, creating a welcoming atmosphere for a wide range of patrons. Find this year’s ice bar on Birch’s deck, overlooking Long Lake and featuring spirits from Minneapolis’ Tattersall Distilling. Highlights include ice shuffleboard, Hammerschlagen, and an igloo with seating inside (long coats recommended!).
Igloo Bar at Zippel Bay Resort, Lake of the Woods
Ice bar, ice igloo, place to ice fish; it’s a little bit of everything. A perennial staple of winter on Lake of the Woods, this wooden structure covered with foam insulation is dragged out onto the ice for anglers and anyone else who wants to visit. Pull open trap doors to go fishing from the comfort of your bar stool, or simply grab a drink, kick back and soak up the unique charms of the heated igloo bar.
Caitlin Hannah is Explore Minnesota's social media strategist and resident Disney expert. She grew up spending summer weekends at her family's lake cabin in Detroit Lakes, and brings that "up north" attitude to everything she does. When traveling around the state, she likes trying new restaurants and taprooms, or watching Minnesota hockey.
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