An Xtra Cold Amsterdam Experience
The Xtra Cold Bar in Amsterdam is the only Ice Bar in the Netherlands. If that’s not a showstopper then we here at Lilly Likes don’t know what is. There’s nothing better than catching a cold one, and here – literally nothing is warm. It’s so cold, in fact, that a thermal jacket is given on entry and the loan is included in the ticket price.
So if everyone matches in the photographs, that’s why. It wasn’t a fashion shoot, we promise… although if anyone wants to invite us, we won’t turn them down. We also might break your camera though, so you have been warned.
If an ice cold beer in an ice cold room doesn’t sound like your cup of iced tea, then listen up! Lilly Likes are the masters of all things Amsterdam. Whether you are looking for a dinner cruise made almost entirely out of pancakes, or whether you want a meal in a game bar, we have the location for you.
How do you get an Ice Bar in the Middle of a City?
Apparently, you have it in a refrigerated room at the back of a regular bar. The Ice Bar isn’t carved out of ice, exactly, but the whole room is filled with it…. Wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor. The ice bar is kept at a permanent -10c to stop things from melting, but that doesn’t mean your ice-carved-glass won’t melt if you hold it in your hand for too long. It also means you need to remember your thermals.
One of the things people like to do most here is sit under the sign for the place, looking cold in their hats and scarves and taking pictures for Instagram. Seriously…there are thousands. At least it proves it’s a popular place. The Lilly Likes team have been here three times already…and we are booked to go back! We’re terrified to look through the sign pictures in case we spot ourselves!
One of the really nice things about this place is that you can combine the price of your ticket with some other Amsterdam attractions. Some of their combo tickets include money off the Hemp museum, a visit to Casa Rosso, or travel costs to and from the bar. There are quite a lot of combo attractions to choose from. You can visit this link to find out more.
What’s on the menu?
The Ice Bar have a bit of an intricate system for getting your drinks – but they do provide three free drinks in the price of your ticket. You will be given one golden token and two silver ones. Unlike Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, the golden ticket doesn’t get you inside. Actually, the golden token is for the warmed lounge in the front of the building. The two silver ones are for two drinks in the ice bar.
Theoretically, this is because it is pretty cold in there. Even with a warm thermal jacket, you don’t want to spend more than an hour or so in the ice bar. The tokens are for free drinks but don’t stress; you can buy more than that. You can even chill in the forward bar for as long as you want.
The front bar has a full selection of beers, wines, cocktails or hot drinks. They also have soft drinks and will make additional drinks for you, should you choose to get smashed. Their menu includes a choice of five cocktails:
- Sex on the Beach
- Amsterdamned – Genever, Peach Liqueur, cranberry juice, and lime… It made us LOL with its name.
- Arctic Ice bar – blue curacao, genever, 7up and peach syrup.
- The Mojito, which is made from rum, mint, lime, sugar and soda.
- Or the Caipiroska, which includes red or white vodka with lime, sugar syrup and soda.
They also have some non-alcoholic cocktails but who cares about those
When you go through the back into the -10c ice bar you will only be served OJ, Heineken, or strong alcohol shots. The best part, though, is that they will all be served to you in glasses made entirely out of ice! Don’t lick anything.
You can read more about the actual drinks menu in the ice bar by following this link whereas you can see the menu for the front-of-house bar, here. Whatever you have to drink you are sure to have a good time. Did we mention you get three free drinks included in the ticket price? That’s a pretty good deal considering tickets to the Ice Bar are only around the 22.50 € mark. You couldn’t get one drink in some parts of England for that…
Luckily, the owners of the bar have already thought this through, and the front Ice bar actually sells a variety of hot drinks, just to get your blood flowing again. They don’t want to turn anyone out that they think won’t be safe, so you are in good hands. They’ll even keep an eye on you while you drink, just to make sure you don’t get too hammered, forget the cold, and wake up in a hedge somewhere… or a hospital. We’re not sure which of those is worse.
What You Get for Your Money?
At the Amsterdam Xtra Cold Ice Bar you get access to the (literal) coolest bar in Amsterdam. It is interesting and fun, it’s definitely a great experience, and it is not up there on the list of expected things to do in this city; which we all know is famous for tulips.
The bar has free Wi-Fi and they will include the use of a thermal coat and gloves in the ticket price. Then they throw in a couple of ice bar drinks served in ice-carved glasses. Add to that a free drink in the warm bar to heat you back up again so that nobody leaves with hypothermia.
We’re not entirely sure how long it is safe to stay at -10c for but we are guessing you will eventually freeze if you are in there too long. We’re not sure what other safety measures they have in place, but we would guess that the bar staff are good at keeping an eye out for symptoms of hypothermia. At any rate, if your fingers start to go black then you should probably get out of there.
The Ice Bar is about the experience. It’s the only place in the Netherlands where you can go to get a drink in -10c. Oddly, a fridge only cools to around 5oc, which would mean that your drink is warmer than the glass it is served in. It does mean you don’t need an ice cube – and at least they give you gloves so you don’t need to bring your own. The point is that they are selling an experience.
Like so many other places in Amsterdam, the Xtra Cold Ice Bar is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You have to go just to be able to tell your friends about it, or to laugh and joke in your sixties about that time you drank whisky from a glass made out of ice. It’s one of those things that you will probably never get to do again… and that’s what you are getting for your money.
The tickets aren’t pricey either. In a city where everyone is trying their best to make a quick buck the prices here are kind of refreshing.
When can I visit the Xtra Cold Ice Bar in Amsterdam?
You can visit almost any day of the week, with the exception of holidays and special occasions. Normally, the bar is open Monday to Thursday, from 11.45 am to 1.00 am. On a Friday and Saturday it is open from 11.45 am until 2.40 am, and on a Sunday, it is open from 11.45 am until 1 am.
- You might not get in if you don’t have a reservation, so make sure to book online.
- As of March 2020 the price has increased from a previous 17 €, be aware of this if it isn’t your first time. They’re genuinely not trying to fleece you they just put the prices up.
- Last admission is one hour before they close up for the evening.
- If you are going to miss your booking, or if booking online makes you uncomfortable, you can reach them on +31 20 320 5700.
- Absolutely no children, nobody under the age of 18 in fact. Not many of us take family holidays to Amsterdam, but still…
But apart from that you are good to go. Maybe throw some thermal socks into your suitcase though.
If ice isn’t your thing then do something a little warmer on your next trip. We have whole hosts of things that you can do in Amsterdam, all waiting to be discovered. All you need to do is head on over to Lilly Likes HQ and have a gander. We’re sure we have a trip with your name on it here somewhere…