Here in Minnesota, you can’t help but get used to the bitter cold. Yes, we all complain about the endless sub-zero temps. But at the end of the day, we all know the frigid cold is part of what makes us “the bold north.”
So if you can’t beat the cold, you join it by taking advantage of all that winter has to offer. Whether it’s hitting the slopes, skating the outdoor ice rinks, taking a winter hike through state parks, ice fishing, or perhaps visiting the new Urbana Ice Bar in Bloomington — there’s more than one way to fully embrace the unique weather that is Minnesota.
I’m a sucker for hot boozy drinks (Hot Toddy, Hot Buttered Rum, Irish Coffee, etc.). When I think of getting cozy during these winter months, my mind goes straight to sitting by the fire in my softest sweater, a blanket, a good book, and a spiked hot cocoa in hand. Cue Urbana Ice Bar.
Urbana Ice Bar opened just before Christmas and it’s just as it sounds: a bar made completely out of ice! But instead of your run-of-the-mill mixed drinks, there’s hot hand-craefted cocktails which you can drink by an outdoor fire (can’t get more “hygge” than that), plus local wine, and beer.f
Here are the details on Urbana Ice Bar:
- Location: Right outside Urbana Craeft Kitchen, a restaurant at Hyatt Regency near Mall of America
- Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. through mid-February, weather permitting. Get there while it’s still open!
- Folks behind it: It’s a joint effort between Urbana Craeft Kitchen and Fulton Beer
- The Design: Custom ice-sculpted bar by Chris Swarbrick of Ice Occasions
Considering how large the Ice Bar is, I imagine it will be April or May before it fully melts!
Be sure to bundle up before you head to the Ice Bar. For me, that meant the essentials: winter coat, hat, gloves, leggings under the pants, and winter boots — because no amount of hot cocktails will keep you from feeling -10 degrees with windchills.
Now back to the hot booze. My favorite was the St. Paul Manhattan (High West American Prairie Bourbon, Drape Gran Reserve Rosso Vermouth, orange bitters) which involved torching wood chips, giving the manhattan a smokey wood taste – classic yum. My other favorite was the Nutty Buddy, which is basically a super fancy adult hot cocoa. There are several other hot cocktails, like the Dubliner Coffee, Winter Spice Mule, and Honey Cider. I imagine these will all be hits for folks staying at Hyatt Regency and visiting Minneapolis for the Super Bowl.
They’re also serving Fulton beers, Apothic wines, and La Marca prosecco with a portion of wine proceeds going to Second Harvest Heartland.
Speaking of cold weather, when we visited the Ice Bar, it was around -5 degrees with a windchill. They actually had to bring the wine and beer indoors to avoid bursting from the cold! Manager Dennis was a trooper though! He still whipped up our specialty hot cocktails for us in the unbearable cold. It was that much more appreciated and delightful.
Also, if you’re looking to grab a bite to eat, Urbana Craeft Kitchen serves locally sourced dishes that will tantalize the Minnesotan in you. If you’re not from Minnesota, you’ll definitely get a taste of the best in this state. My favorite was the Heirloom Lakota Squash Dumplings — a melt-in-your-mouth potpourri of flavors, including kale, mushrooms, caramelized onions, broccolini, montamore, raising, hazelnut, pear balsamic… ::drool:: Shoutout to our server Gina for the wonderful service and recommendations!
Scroll through below for a look at our night at Urbana Ice Bar and Urbana Craeft Kitchen.
Big thanks to Urbana for the opportunity to get a taste of Urbana Ice Bar and Urbana Craeft Kitchen. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.