Ice Bar, Smugglers close

The Minus5 Ice Bar and the adjacent Smugglers Rum Bar closed down last week. - PHOTO: STEPHEN CLARKE

The Ice Bar and Smugglers Rum Bar shut down last week, about 18 months after the Minus5 Ice Bar made its debut.

In the corner of the Flagship Building at Fort Street and Harbour Drive, the Ice Bar made a bid for cruise ship tourists and locals to cool off in the freezer-like bar with benches, tables and a bar all elaborately carved out of big blocks of ice.

Developer Matthew Wight, with NCB Group, said it was the “wrong model for the wrong clientele.”

Visitors could rent hats and heavy coats from the bar before going into the freezing enclosure of the ice bar. Shells and sea creatures were frozen into the clear, carved blocks of ice that make the bar and lounge.

“The business didn’t succeed,” Mr. Wight said. He explained that Smugglers Rum Bar, in the same space as the Ice Bar, had been starting to do well on its own, but ultimately there were not enough customers to support the dual venture.

He said a lack of foot traffic, parking and residential premises around the businesses made it hard to get customers in the door.

There is a revitalization plan for central George Town making its way through government to help with just the kind of issues Mr. Wight pointed to. But, he said, “the efforts of the George Town revitalization were not quick enough.”

Mr. Wight said all the employees of Smugglers and the Ice Bar have found new jobs either on their own or with the help of his company.