It could be the coolest bar in Cayman.
Plans have been submitted for a waterfront bar made from ice in George Town’s Flagship building.
The planned bar will be part of a chain, called minus5°, where the stools, the bar and the glasses are all sculpted from ice.
The chain started in New Zealand and has franchises in Las Vegas and New York. Customers check their sunglasses at the door and don fur coats to sip vodka cocktails amid ice sculptures. The décor changes every six weeks as designers literally melt down and re-sculpt.
Architects acting for Dart Enterprises, which owns the building, have submitted a “change of use” application to convert retail space for a bar.
It is understood that the franchise will be owned and operated by a private entrepreneur who will lease the space, subject to planning approval. It is expected to be one of several new projects for the building, though Dart has declined to discuss the plans at this stage.
Island Companies, which is owned by Dart, announced in August that it had closed Island Time, Watch Me/De Sunglass Man, Pandora and Island Jewellers, which were housed in the building.
Inside the bar
The plans for the minus5° bar include an ice lounge, ice bar, retail space and “parka” area for customers to change.
A detailed promotional document for the chain is included alongside the planning application.
Its website explains: “Everything inside minus5° is made of ice; the walls, the bar, the seats and even the glasses that you enjoy your cocktails in. We have our own ice carver who creates the ice sculptures and continuously reinvents the experience throughout the year.
“Once you choose your package, you’re kitted out with gloves and a warm parka or faux fur coat, then transported into a winter wonderland of interactive ice architecture while sipping the coolest cocktails from glasses made entirely of ice.”
Entry fees start at $17 and escalate depending on the type of clothing customers want to rent. According to reviews, customers typically spend 15 to 20 minutes inside and are attracted by the one-off nature of the experience.
A professional photographer charges an additional $20 for pictures, and the bars sell merchandise, including fur-lined hoodies, husky hats and ear muffs. Reviews of the existing minus5° bars from holidaymakers are broadly positive, with many customers commenting that it was a great thing to do – once.
A typical review on TripAdvisor reads: “Very nice to try once. Total novelty that you have to do at least one time. Three of us did the fur coats and walked in and was very funny to see in the middle of Las Vegas.”
Other less satisfied reviewers complained that it was a gimmicky tourist trap with new charges at every turn and customers banned from bringing in their own cameras.