Amsterdam features one of the very few sub-zero Xtracold ice bars in the world. Here’s what it’s like inside.
Amsterdam’s Xtracold ice bar really lives up to its name. Nestled in the winding streets and canals on Holland’s capital, you’ll know you’ve arrive when you see the big stood-up polar bear. Even in reception, the interior is kitted out like the frozen inside of a wooden ship. The man hands you 3 golden drinks tokens and you head through to the big bar.
In the Tavern – Pre-Drinks
There’s a very exclusive-feeling bar full of people waiting to get into the ice bar. Maritime ornaments, ships, and projector videos of boats on the high seas make the backdrop of your first drinks.
Soon, a pirate steps up with Pirates of the Caribbean music playing, gives you the old “Are ye ready for a swashbuckling adventure” and once everyone cheers loud enough, we prep for the cold.
Getting Ready for the Ice Bar
You grab a big red winter coat and zip it right up as you feel a cool breeze from the last tipsy group leaving. Some red fingerless gloves complete your ensemble, and you head into the unknown.
Inside Xtracold Ice Bar Amsterdam
The walls are snow. The ceiling is fishnets with fishing tackle strewn throughout. Fake fish are in the walls. It’s absolutely freezing. You pat yourself to check that you are indeed wearing several layers of clothes.
There are several photo opportunities for the 40-or-so people in the big glorified freezer – a ship’s steering wheel, Amsterdam Ice bar sign, and of course the ice bar itself. Time to spent the last tokens!
The drinks in here come served in cups of ice. Since everything is below freezing point, there’s no danger of the cups melting. The thermometer shows a steady -9.4°C, and as we’re busy taking photos, my phone goes completely dead with 35% battery and refuses to turn back on until it’s back at the hotel.
The freezing cold is slowly numbing everyone’s fingers, and you look up to notice some of the more sensible tourists have filtered out back to the warmth of the pirate tavern outside. Once the numbness turns to pain, we call it a day and head out.
Once you’ve warmed up in the tavern, you head back to the streets near De Wallen and explore the floating market.
See also: 11 Best Amsterdam Attractions