It is hot in Las Vegas this week. Searingly, brutally, highs-of-107 hot. The kind of heat that makes you hesitate to touch door knobs and steering wheels and makes leather car seat owners curse their upgrades. So it’s hot, right? Uncomfortably so.
That also makes it the perfect time to unveil a very cool new attraction on the Strip, and that’s exactly who Noel Bowman did on Friday, when the president and owner of Minus 5 opened the doors to the third Las Vegas location of the ice bar inside the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian.
“We’ve just had such tremendous success in Las Vegas with all the heat,” Bowman said. “We didn’t have anything toward the middle or the north end of the Strip.”
When the ice impresario opened his first location eight years ago at Mandalay Place, the concept of an ice bar was a tough sell.
“It took us about a year to convince Mandalay Bay that we wanted to do this ice attraction,” he says. “No one really understood it.”
Initially, Minus 5 was positioned as more of a high-end nightclub experience: bottle service, caviar and oysters with a frigid, icy environment to boot.
“We learned pretty quickly that we needed to be more of an attraction than a nightclub,” Bowman adds.
Today, the brand is just that: an attraction where guests don parkas and gloves to venture inside glowing rooms where the walls, bar, chairs and decor are all built out of ice. Cocktails are served in ice goblets, and after their time inside Frozen is up, visitors retreat to warm areas where they can lounge with a drink and work on their Instagram post. The bars are also popular for private events and can accommodate groups of 400 in event mode.
The new location, which joins bars at Mandalay Place, Monte Carlo and in New York and Orlando, encompasses 3,000 square feet including a 1,500-square-foot ice bar, where the opening installation includes a tropical room complete with palm trees and surfboards in partnership with Kenny Chesney’s Blue Chair Bay rum.
“We brought the beach to the ice attraction,” Bowman said. “We’ve got [Chesney’s] whole line in there. All the bottles are frozen in ice and people are drinking out of ice coconuts.”
Another room, designed in partnership with the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas, offers an ice electric chair and police lineup wall.
“The beautiful thing about what we do from a design point of view is that ice is incredibly perishable, so we have the ability to recreate ourselves often,” Bowman added.
The owner is eying new locations in Hawaii, Nashville and downtown Las Vegas.
“Vegas is just pretty extreme, and this is a pretty extreme concept,” Bowman said. “Everyone in Vegas is walking around looking for fun, exciting things to do. Vegas is just a perfect fit.”