Walk-in ice bar at Damenti’s Restaurant, Mountain Top, Pennsylvania. Photo: Bill Bywater.
Martha Stewart’s wedding website recently featured an ice bar
, an 18″ piece of ice sitting on a tabletop, charmingly carved, with cylinders cut out for chilling the bottled beverage of your choice. OK, it was pretty cool. But take a look at the walk-in ice bar constructed at Damenti’s Restaurant
in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, for a series of fundraising events this winter. That’s an eighteen-foot-long sculpted ice bar protected by eight-foot Trojans – yes, Martha, this ice bar is bigger than yours.
What’s really cool: Damenti’s owners, Kevin and Helen MacDonald, set up the bar every winter to help raise funds for lots of local charities.
What’s even more cool: You could set up an ice bar like this for an event in the heat of summer.
One of the sculptors who created the walk-in ice bar, Bill Bywater (my big brother ;P), explains how it holds up in winter and summer, and gives some tips for using one at your own event:
With a freezer unit attached it can maintain during those days we had last week that peeked into the high fifties. And the freezer has been off all this week as the temps dropped back down. It will last like this from mid December through St Patrick’s Day.
That said, most customers want to know how it will hold up through an event. The answer is beautifully. All the construction elements are 5 to 10 inches thick making them very durable. Guests will feel a drop in temperature when they step up to the bar to order a cold drink. The ice will shrink at about 1/4 inch an hour at room temperature, resulting in a bar that will still be there the next day.
Even on a hot summer day it will last five hours without issue. Direct sunlight can actually be the bigger foe. The ultraviolet light shatters the crystal structure turning an ice block to rubble, from the outside in. Look at your prospective location at the time of day you will have your event to see where your shadow options are. That is where you want your ice bar. The ice bar looks best in darker setting anyway where it can be up lit or be illuminated with strings of chasing LED lighting.
Also consider reserving the ice bar to vodka drinks, or chilled white wine, a frozen drink or a couples “signature” drink. That way it won’t have ten people in front of it when the cocktail hour starts (so no one can see it). Let a house bar take care of high volume and mixed drinks.
The bar front can be themed or designed to the event at well at the bar top with engraved snow filled lettering.
Love the signature drink idea to avoid a crowd blocking the bar. Suggestions for a chilled signature drink, anyone? Please do share in the Comments section.
UPDATE: It turns out that the tops of the Trojans’ helmets are shot luges. I think I’ve used the word cool too many times in this post to use it again here, which is a shame.
Tips for Finding and Working with a Top-Notch Ice Sculptor (Huppahs.com)