I don’t like to be cold. I spend the winter months sitting on top of a space heater, or cuddled up by the propane fireplace, but last year I discovered something about myself. I actually love outside winter activities. It makes it all the more fun when I head back inside to warm up after some exhilarating time in the cold.
So, with that in mind, I took the plunge and bought tickets to last month’s Ice Bar at the Portland Harbor Hotel. I’ve been fascinated with ice bars for a while but had never actually gone to one. This was my year. We ended up getting tickets for Thursday night because Friday and Saturday night’s tickets were already sold out. Apparently, I’m not the only one who embraces winter in Maine.
This year’s tickets were sold through Brown Paper Tickets. I’m not sure if it will be the same for future ice bars, but it’s worth checking them out. And, you might find another event that sounds interesting. They had a lot of fun ones listed when I bought the ice bar tickets.
The night of the ice bar, I really had no idea what to expect and, even after attending the event, I am certainly no pro but here’s a quick hit list of some of the things I liked most about the Ice Bar:
Beverage Selection. While the outside ice bar had a more limited beverage selection with only a few beer choices and three Patriot’s themed cocktails both showcasing the event sponsors Shipyard and New Amsterdam, the inside bar had a full menu and you were able to bring drinks back and forth with no problem. So while I started the night with the Patriot Punch, I was able to switch to wine for the rest of the evening.
Warm Zones. There were a variety of options to help take the chill out, and I think we spent some time by each of them:
- Propane Fire Pit Area
- Wood Burning Fires
- Propane Patio Heaters
- Inside Spaces
Dance Music. While it wasn’t officially a dance party, the music kept people moving and singing along. The DJ played a good mix of songs and the crowd seemed pretty happy with the selections.
A Good Cause. While I have to confess, I didn’t even realize it was a fundraiser when I bought our tickets, it made me feel a little better about the purchase. The tickets are a little pricey, so was really happy to know it was to support some great, local nonprofits. This year’s event supported: PSL Services / STRIVE, Camp Sunshine and WinterKids.
Parking. While we were able to find a place to park on the street, not far from the ice bar, the hotel was offering $5.00 parking in their garage which I thought was a great rate for the night.
Water to Go. This was a minor thing, but much appreciated. They had bottles of water as we were leaving. It’s always important to stay hydrated after a few cocktails.
A couple of other take-aways from the event…
There were hors d’oeuvres and light appetizers available, but as they recommended, you’ll want to eat dinner on your own. They had a couple of pasta dishes, some cheese and crackers, and a chocolate dipping fountain. We ended up grabbing sandwiches on the way home because we were still pretty hungry.
You’ll need to get your drink tickets as you arrive. There were a few event ticket purchase options, and I bought the one with one free drink, so we picked up our drink tickets as we checked into the event. As I mentioned, we then moved to the bar for our drinks. The bar area accepted credit cards. If we’d wanted more drinks outside, we would have needed to buy the drink tickets at the entrance area.
We came prepared and dressed warmly. I had multiple layers and overall was comfortable even when outside for extended periods, especially hanging out by the fire, but my husband’s feet got pretty cold. Layer up, grab the long underwear, warn socks, and don’t forget the hat and gloves.
The crowd was a full range of ages. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but all age ranges were well represented. My biggest take-away is that I think this event is great for a group of friends, or multiple couples out together so ask some friends to join you if you decide to give it a try. It may not be something we do every year, but we’re glad that we gave it a try.
|things to know|
|Location||Portland Harbor Hotel
468 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101
|Website||Portland Harbor Hotel|
|Favorite ♥||Fire Pit|