During the autumn of 2009, the city of Oslo, Norway, was adorned with glistening touches from the Torne River. Ice statues and the opportunity to try your hand at ice-sculpting were mixed with competitions and “ice people” in the streets and city squares. With a magnificent fire-and-ice show, few could have missed the spectacular grand opening.
In the same neighborhood as the National Gallery, the Norwegian Theatre and Hotel Bristol you will now find ICEBAR OSLO. Five hundred guests attended the premier, together with Olav Thon of Thon Hotels as well as Yngve Bergqvist, CEO of ICEHOTEL. Sixty tonnes of ice were brought directly from ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi to Oslo. The bar was designed by ICEHOTEL Artistic Director, Arne Bergh, together with ice artist Jan Haglöf, who constructed the 100 cubic meter bar from the ground up.
Long before its grand opening, there was a storm of bookings from private persons, cruise companies and travel agents. ICEBAR OSLO has already welcomed thousands of tourists from around the world, and they are expecting to top 80 000 guests during the first year. “This is a goal we are definitely going to reach”, says Joachim Langebrekke Larsen, General Manager of ICEBAR OSLO.
The story begins when Olav Thon, owner of Norway’s third largest hotel chain, Thon Hotels, visited ABSOLUT ICEBAR in Stockholm. The experience was overwhelming and lead to swift measures. This was definitely something for the people of Oslo. “A bar made completely of ice, cold, the fantastic lighting and ice sculptures left us spellbound”, says Morten Thorvaldsen, CEO of Thon Hotels. They contacted Agnetha Lund, Director of ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL, who presented the concept in Oslo, and a short nine months later they took part in the opening of Oslo’s coolest tourist attraction.
“In the rocks”
If you are tempted to visit ICEBAR OSLO, an advance reservation is recommended. You are welcomed in the entryway with warm clothing and a drink naturally served in a glass made of pure, crystal-clear ice. If you prefer, wander over to the warmer section where you will find a cocktail bar and a tapas menu showcasing only the finest of ingredients. You can try your hand at ice-sculpting – a popular activity among guests, many of which are visiting as a part of a company or organization. In addition to unique touches like having their company logo or product frozen in ice, which is perfect for launches, there is also the possibility of accommodating courses and conferences for 10 – 250 participants. Once a year, a team of ice artists from ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi arrive to change and renew the design. Work that makes ICEBAR OSLO one of the city’s continually current attractions.
”You can visit us on a regular basis, and still always experience something new, genuine and transformed”, says Joachim Langebrekke Larsen. Independent of weather and season, it is always -5°C inside, mimicking ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi. The surreal blue and green light casts the feeling of the ice and northern lights, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. The goal is of course to offer an utterly unique bar experience in Oslo’s finest and most distinctive hotspot. “We have already hosted a number of events and launches here”, says Joachim Langebrekke Larsen, “Companies in search of that little extra twist, a unique experience yearround, come to us.”