Minnesota is known for its winters, and there are plenty of unique ways to enjoy the weather. Discover the beauty of this time of year by “heating” things up on ice at one of these featured ice bars. Who could complain about the cold when its means is to serve your favorite bar beverages? Here is a round-up of some of the “hottest” ice bars across the state. As always, please celebrate responsibly.
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 centers on “fire and ice”-themed weekends (Jan. 25-26, Feb. 1-2) with signature smoked cocktails. Whiskey and cigar weekend (Feb. 8-9) will supplement the feeling of “a time gone” with pairings at the bar. Visit on “Pappy Weekend” (Feb. 15-16) for some Paper Van Winkle Whiskey. Accommodations include four tables with fire pits and standing torch heaters to keep you warm while you sip on a classic cocktail. The ice bar will continue to operate until it melts.
Downtown Rochester’s SocialICE is more than your average ice bar experience—it's a full-blown winter extravaganza. Held annually in Peace Plaza, SocialICE 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-evening event. Grab a signature drink from any of the seven participating bars, Feb. 7-9.
The Lexington, St. Paul
The Lexington first opened on Grand Avenue in 1935, reopening in 2017 after a substantial renovation. This winter marks the second year an outdoor ice bar will grace The Lex's rooftop patio. Once you've got a drink, check out one of the bar's "curling tables” for a miniature version of curling. The roof will also feature a Lexington Throne, where you can get your picture taken like the royalty of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival on their giant ice throne. The ice bar is expected to be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings starting Jan. 24.
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 will also serve hot spiced wine. Visit the carnival Jan. 24-Feb. 3.
International Eelpout Festival, Walker
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 $5 shots, ice shuffleboard, and Hammerschlagen on Friday and Saturday nights through Valentine’s Day (weather permitting).
Zippel Bay Resort Ice Igloo, Williams
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 with foamed 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.
For more news on ice bars, regular bars, and more fun Minnesota food and drink locations, visit the Drink & Eat page.