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June 22, 2007

Shanghai Surpr-ice

You might want to rethink your usual club gear.

Perhaps the journalists lauding Absolut ICEHOTEL’s latest venture — opening in Shanghai today — threw back a few shots before filing their stories. Though claimed to be Asia’s first ice bar, the 40 tons of ice shipped from the Torne River in Sweden make this outpost the fourth to invade Asia. In 2005, ICEHOTEL opened its Tokyo branch, and last summer two rival ice bars were already operating in Shanghai. Timelines aside, the new cool zone is double the size of its competitors, and serves only Absolut vodka. Like ICEHOTEL’s sister spots (and flagship bar in Jukkasjärvi), the entire space is crafted from what designer Mark Armstrong calls the purest ice. That means ice tables and glasses, Absolut bottles and animals carved out of ice walls, fur blankets draped over boxy ice stools, and icy chandeliers dangling from the ceiling. The temperature hovers around -5C to keep the bar in one piece but big ponchos are on tap to keep customers cozy. Drink quickly, though — every party is allowed just 45 minutes in the arctic hangout.

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read more: 02. Sleep | boutique | unusual | 06. Drink

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