Chillin’ in Cayman

Ice Bar in the works

A visit to George Town might soon involve wrapping up in a warm coat, gloves and boots in freezing conditions now that a new unique bar has been granted a provisional liquor licence.

An application by Ms Nicole Benza for a Retail liquor licence and Music and Dancing licence for her proposed Minus 5 Ice Bar has been successful. Her application was heard at Thursday’s quarterly session of the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman at Custom’s Headquarters.

This will be the first ice bar ever for the Cayman Islands.

Everything from the bar to the glasses would be ice, said the attorney representing Ms Benza, Waide DaCosta. He said he had visited a similar concept of bar in Montego Bay in Jamaica and it was a wonderful experience.

Speaking about Ms Benza’s bar, he said on entering the bar the patrons would be given a warm coat, gloves and boots. The coat would be long enough to cover those who entered in shorts, Mr. Da Costa explained to the board headed up by Chairman Mitchell Welds, Secretary Marva Scott-Dunbar, Deputy Chair Lynn Bodden-Smatt and members Ruth Williams and Bernice Richards. Also officiating at the meeting was Liquor Inspector Donald Green and Chief Inspector George Watson.

The board was shown a short video depicting an ice bar.

‘It’s one of those experiences you’d never expect to find in the middle of the tropics,’ explained Mr. DaCosta.

The ice bar is to be located at Rackhams on North Church Street (inside in the former merchandise sale area) and is to serve as complimentary to Rackham’s business.

‘This is one unique concept that will enhance the business of Rackham’s and allow locals to experience sub-zero temperatures,’ said Mr. DaCosta who added that the project has even been endorsed by the Department of Tourism as something that will add to the tourism product of the islands.

Because the ice bar will not serve food, guests can be pointed towards Rackham’s for a meal, he said and guests can be informed of the ice bar experience at Rackham’s: ‘It’s a mutually beneficial agreement,’ he said.

The gloves to be worn will be a surgical type of gloves to ensure there’s always a level of protection for people’s health against germs.

A merchandise store will sell various items, including coats to tourists returning to colder climes, he said.

‘It will be an experience that both tourists and residents alike will be serviced by,’ said Mr. DaCosta.

Ms Benza said the very unique concept will give both tourists and residents something very unique to do on the island.

Mr. DaCosta told the board Ms Benza has been with the Hyatt in Grand Cayman for 11 years and works at Bamboo Restaurant and Bar. She has the experience and business acumen to ensure the law is fully complied with, he commented.

The application, he said, is provisional, as the bar is subject to planning and other requirements.

The first ice bar was at the Icehotel in northern Sweden, which was first built in the autumn of 1989. Each year the Icehotel melts, and a new (bigger and better) one is constructed in the fall. Several years ago, the developer of the Icehotel had an idea of opening a permanent, year-round ice bar in Stockholm and it opened in 2002. Since then ice bars have been springing up in cities such as Milan, Italy and London, England.

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