Chilling out with a cocktail in Minus 5 Ice Bar Queenstown

Rory and I playing bar staff in Minus 5 Ice Bar Queenstown

Rory and his wolf hat!!

Enjoying a cocktail in minus 9 degree temperatures wouldn’t usually be something I would jump at the chance to do. Minus 5 Ice Bar in Queenstown however, is definitely a ‘cool’ experience and one I was really looking forward to trying.

The bar which is situated on the wharf on Queenstown’s lake front, is made of ice and housed in a huge freezer. But don’t worry, before you embark on your jaunt into the freezing temperatures, you are provided with lots of cozy layers including coats, gloves and hats and even sheepskin boots to keep you warm. I was given one tip however before going in and that was to get two pairs of gloves to use instead of just one so this may have helped especially when holding your glass – which is also made from ice!

Although named Minus 5, the temperature is nearer minus 9 degrees inside the bar. This sounds hideous but in reality I barely noticed the cold at all. It honestly didn’t feel as cold as I thought it would at all. I was pleasantly surprised. We were part of only a small group that night, and so after our 30 minutes in there, the next group were brought in and we were lucky enough to be allowed to stay in for longer. We had a great time in there though and soon all of us were chatting away and organising post-ice bar warm up drinks in the Boiler Room Bar next door – which you can see through windows in the ice bar and wave at everyone in the bar next door.

The bar is sponsored by Absolut Vodka, and they have every flavour imaginable. Depending on which admission ticket you purchase at least one cocktail is included in the price. But don’t worry there are non-alcoholic options too for the wee ones or the sober drivers of the group too. The cocktail list is impressive and the cocktail themselves incredibly tasty – and very easy to drink – so you can buy more whilst you are in there too.

Rory and I with our vodka shots

My favourite was one called Arctic Sunrise, which had Absolut Vodka, Cointreau, Pineapple Juice and Passion Fruit Syrup. Rory and I also tried a Frozen Flash, a Polar Bear and a Blue Berry Bliss though too and all went down a little too well.

The ice sculptures in the bar are quite amazing and we learnt that new ones are carved every 6 weeks or so. The seats are also made from ice but have blankets over them to stop your butt from freezing off. The cocktail glasses and even the shot glasses are all made from ice too so it really is a fantastic experience and one I would recommend to anyone to give a try when in Queenstown.

One of our lovely bar staff on the night

Our lovely bar staff for the night, Leigh and Stef, were incredibly friendly and helpful, and made the whole experience a lot of fun. It’s clear that they really love their jobs too and this vibe really made for a great atmosphere inside the bar. When you go first enter they bar, they get straight to pouring drinks for everyone. Once everyone has a drink in hand they then take photos of you all, which you can buy later once you leave the bar. It’s definitely worth getting these as ours came out really well. Although you can take cameras and video into the bar with you, mine didn’t come out very well at all. It is quite light in the bar and has an amazing coloured light display, but it’s still hard to take decent photos whilst in there and plus, it’s great to just kick back and have fun and let someone else take the snaps for you.

Trying out the cowboy shooter sculpture!

We couldn’t leave the ice bar without trying out one the more ‘practical’ sculptures – an ice shooter cowboy. A hose is attached from the back of the sculpture through the ice and out the front. From here the barmaid pours a shot of whatever flavour drink you want down the hose for you to drink. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that where the hose is located on the front of the cowboy looks a little rude in photos! 🙂

We had a great time in Minus 5 and even made a few friend who we went drinking in town with after. It was a great atmosphere and a really fun experience, and I will definitely be heading there again next time I’m in Queenstown.

Minus 5 is open all year round and entrance and cocktail prices start from just $32 for adults and $15 for children including a ‘mocktail’. There are group booking discounts available and you can also hire it out for private functions too.For more information check out their website – or call them on (03) 442 6050 or email


Enjoying our cocktails

Playing barmaid in Minus 5 Ice Bar Queenstown

The interior of the bar

Rory trying out the cowboy

The cowboy ice sculpture

The delicious cocktail menu

Rory and I with our cocktails

Inside Minus 5 Queenstown

Enjoying the Minus 5 experience

The impressive ice sculptures

Inside the Minus 5 ice bar

View through the window into Minus 5 from The Bolier Room

Our ice bar group enjoying warm up drinks in The Boiler Room next door


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  • Reply
    Christine | Grrrl Traveler
    June 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I have always wanted to visit an ice bar. Didn’t know they had one in New Zealand though. Quite unexpected.

    • Reply
      June 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      There’s 3 of them in NZ. 2 in Qtown and 1 in Auckland I think. Really cool experience though – excuse the pun!

  • Reply
    Finz Seafood & Grill Restaurant, Winter Festival Queenstown | Kapcha
    June 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    […] are in Queenstown. We had to take a stroll around the waterfront before heading next door to the Minus 5 Ice Bar though as I literally was bursting at the seams with all the delicious […]

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