Bars & Pubs

Wine Avec Design

At most of the world’s wine bars there’s a direct correlation between the quality of the decor, the quality of the wine and the snootiness of the clientele. At Chicago’s Avec Restaurant & Wine Bar high design and highly delicious wine have been refreshingly paired with a friendly, informal, atmosphere.

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Ice Bars In Warm Places

At almost any bar in the world you can get a drink with ice. At a few you can get a drink in ice. While sitting on seats made of ice. At a table made of ice. Surrounded by walls made of ice.

The concept of the ice bar originated, logically enough, in Sweden where both water and freezing temperatures are abundant. These icy drinking establishments soon became popular around Scandinavia, partly because they combined two elements Scandinavians tend to embrace (cold and alcohol) and partly because these bars’ LED lighting, artworks of frozen water and and intimate settings made them great places to chill out. (Pun. Sorry.)

Today, there are more than two dozen ice bars around the globe including ones in Amsterdam, London, Poland, Canada and Alaska. Not all of these frozen saloons are in places with cold climes. Hence this Spot Cool Stuff overview of ice bars in warm places.

For the purposes of this review, a “warm place” is anywhere it doesn’t snow in the winter and regularly gets hot in the summer. So, the ice bar in Beijing doesn’t count. The one in Shanghai would have had it not recently closed.

All of the selections on this list, like most of the ice bars anywhere, charge an entrance fee to get in. Usually this fee includes one free drink and use of cold-weather clothing that is designed as much to protect patrons from the bar’s sub-freezing temperatures as it is to protect the bar itself from the patrons’ body heat. To help keep their establishments below freezing, ice bars also have strict limits on the number of people allowed in.

And with that, let’s kick back with a cold one and tour the world’s ice bars in warm places . . .

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Bangkok’s Restaurant of Safe Sex

I’d like the grilled fish with mango and a condom, please.

In Bangkok, there’s a lunch and dinner spot where you can utter that sentence to your waiter without it being the punch line of some (probably not very good) joke. Tucked away on one of the Thai capital’s many side streets is the Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant.

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Two Nights Above Bangkok

Bangkok's coolest scenes are high above the city.

Bangkok’s glamour set has no fear of heights. Two of the Thailand capital’s most chic dining and drinking spots are well above the city: the Vertigo Grill & Moon Bar and the Sirocco.

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Eating In The Dark

Here’s a restaurant theme you didn’t see coming: darkness.

The concept of purposefully eating in complete pitch-black dark originated with Jorge Spielmann, a blind clergyman from Zurich. When guests ate dinner at the Spielmann house some would wear blindfolds during their meal to show solidarity with their host and to better understand his world. What Spielmann’s sighted guests found was that the blindfolds heightened their sense of taste and smell and made their dining experience more enjoyable. That gave Spielmann the idea to open a dark restaurant, which he did in 1999.

Today you can stumble into dozens restaurants around the world where that question made famous in an American commercial in the 80s — Where’s the beef? — takes on a whole new meaning. Most dark restaurants employ blind waiters, offer a single set menu, and ban anything that could give off light (like cigarettes, cell phones and cameras) from the dinning area. All of them also have normally lit bathrooms though you’ll need to ask your waiter for help in finding it.

Here’s our illuminating look at some of the world’s dark restaurants:

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The Coolest Bar In Vegas:
The minus5 Ice Lounge

Where else would the first permanent ice lounge in the United States be located but in the middle of a hot desert?

The new Minus 5 Ice Lounge, adjacent to the Mandalay Bay Resort on the Las Vegas Strip, is 2,000 square feet of frigid wonderland complete with an ice bar, ice sofas, an ice chandelier and an ice Elvis sculpture. Guests needn’t bring their own winter wear for the occasion—each is provided with parkas and boots to keep warm while they chill with their friends.

Admission is $30 though that includes a complimentary vodka cocktail. (No reason to order that drink on the rocks because, like nearly everything else at the Minus 5 Lounge, the glasses are made of ice). Accompanied minors are allowed inside too. Just make sure they don’t stick their tongues, well, anything.

Related Post: Ice Bars In Warm Places

BOOK A ROOM AT MANDALAY BAY  The Coolest Bar In Vegas: <br>The minus5 Ice Lounge | READ | FLY THERE
 The Coolest Bar In Vegas: <br>The minus5 Ice Lounge


 The Coolest Bar In Vegas: <br>The minus5 Ice Lounge

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Happy Endings

Once an illegal massage parlor, hence the name, Happy Endings is now a friendly lounge with a hip singles scene that doesn’t guarantee this spot’s former promises of gratification. Getting in is as easy as showing-up and the downstairs lounge still offers private tiled rooms, which are now filled with banquettes and tables. The crowd is informal and hip and they both dance and mingle to DJs that bring the 70s funk on weekends, but aren’t afraid to mix it with a little 80s pop and modern rock. Take a cab here -– the lounge is hard to find and the neighborhood can be sketchy.

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Barcade

Most of the people who religiously played Centipede, Mario Bros. and Frogger did so when they were too young to drink. Good news. Times have changed, but the games remain the same. At this slightly out of the way former warehouse, friendly and grungy locals jingle all the way through the long room with pockets full of quarters. Surprisingly the hip space attracts an even numbers of men and women and while playing video games may seem anti-social, the flashing screens are a distant background for those crowded around the bar.

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