One of the many perks of writing for a magazine is being invited to all the new openings, even when the place has already existed for years. Confused? Don’t be, it’s very normal for existing places to get facelifts from time to time; I mean it is Vegas, the vainest city, after all. Whether it’s a new name, new décor or just new management, places are ever changing to keep the clientele wanting more. Minus 5 Ice Experience recently partook in this common occurrence, which is something I have always wanted to check out as a Vegas local.

Minus 5 has a few locations in the Las Vegas Valley, but the grand reopening happened at the Mandalay Bay location. They revamped the whole bar area, menu and experience. They offer different packages depending on each customer’s needs, party size or budget, but once adorned in parkas, faux fur coats, and gloves, you are directed into a world of ice. The seats, statues, bars, chandeliers and even the cups are all made of ice. Rhythmic music with coordinating lights bounce off the glistening ice, all playing to the senses of the invited guest. Iconic Vegas images are carved into the ice, as well as snow covered mountaintops and marching penguins. The oversized ice thrown in makes a picture-worthy moment. This gives every guest the chance to become the ice queen or king they always imagined they could be as a child. Narnia… should I say more?

A variety of cocktails are served, but you must be careful to hold them with two hands or they will slip away from you. Once you exit the ice lounge, another bar awaits you offering a variety of specialty cocktails, beer and wine. For this event, they made mini tasters of the most popular drinks and the production value was quite stunning. Some came with dry ice or flaming lime, but they were all delicious and warming. My favorite was the Penguin on the Beach, which consisted of Don Q Coconut Rum, X-Rated Fusion Tropical Liqueur, Grapefruit Syrup, Fentimans Ginger Beer, and a dash of whiskey barrel bitters strained over dry ice and garnished with a lime wheel and a dehydrated grapefruit slice. This cocktail will warm up those fingers immediately. The price points are very reasonable for being a bar on the Strip and the staff is very welcoming. They welcome large parties and business events, boasting event options such as personalized sculptures of company logos or product placement frozen inside the ice. That would leave a lasting impression on anyone and for any company.

For years I have wanted to experience one of these ice bars and I have to say I was very pleased and surprised with the overall atmosphere. The ice lounge itself was amazing and so unique, while the outside bar had the craft cocktail feel without the cheesy gimmicks. I would highly recommend checking it out and splurging on the extra cocktails and faux fur coat.