The one thing I dislike most about the summer season is the sweltering heat that comes with it. Because too much heat turns me into something akin to a wilting flower, I end up going out of my way to find means to keep cool outside of my bedroom. Oftentimes, I opt to go on vacation to cooler places or go to cinemas just to relieve myself of my yearly heat-induced stress. However, summer is also the season to try out new things. Imperial Ice Bar, the latest addition to Manila’s high-end clubbing scene, aims to provide would-be patrons with a fun alternative to beat the heat this sweltering summer.
The people behind Imperial Ice Bar are also the people who brought us Draft Gastropub. They took inspiration from the ice bars in New York and Sweden, and felt that it would be great if the Manila clubbing crowd would have the opportunity to enjoy this new trend in their very own country. During our visit, marketing manager, Jave Maceda, offered to take us through the motions to ensure that we would enjoy our very first legitimate ice bar visit.
“Imperial Ice Bar is home to some of the best high-grade alcohol there is,” Jave shares. “We’re well-known for our vodka mixes because they’re very smooth and don’t leave you sick in the head the next day.” To prove his point, he ordered us each two glasses of a vodka-cranberry mix, which made use of their Russian Standard Platinum Vodka (P3,000 per bottle) as its main ingredient. My friend, Jin, and I were so amazed at how smooth the mix was; I found it light, fruity and a good way to kick off the night. We were also treated to chilled shots of Patron XO Jager (P100), which is, in my opinion, one of the best alcoholic drinks to ever exist.
Patron XO Jager
Of course, no reputable bar would be able to keep people coming and going without delicious appetizers and snackables on their menu. Imperial Ice Bar definitely has some of the most amazing food items set to accompany their arsenal of bar drinks. I instantly fell in love with the Smoked Salmon Nachos (P820+), a dish that consists of blue and white corn tortilla with smoked salmon slices, cucumber salsa and wasabi cream. This, for me, was a terrific re-imagining of the typical nacho-and-salsa combo because the taste is very refreshing and a little more refined.
Smoked Salmon Nachos
Their Caviar Parfait (P600+) is also another dish worth trying out. It is made up of red and black lumpfish roe with eggs, shallots, lemon, cream cheese, aioli and crostini. Don’t let the idea of it being caviar allow you to stray away from this food item; all the ingredients blend together perfectly to create a delicious dip that will make you unable to stop eating more.
Finally, we had the Sesame Crusted Tuna (P380), something that has a bit of a kick to it. It comes with sesame-crusted seared tuna, wasabi dressing, picked carrots and white radish.
Sesame Crusted Tuna
Imperial Ice Bar’s main attraction, of course, is the ice bar itself. Before you enter the ice bar, you must sign a waiver acknowledging that you can only stay inside for twenty minutes at the most. They also provide you with some spiffy-looking, Russian-inspired arctic wear that you can opt to put on—and I recommend that you do—before experiencing the -5 degrees Celsius temperature that the bar has to offer.
Once inside, Jave escorted us to the bar area and insisted we try their Imperial Chili Shot, which is Russian Standard Platinum infused with jalapeno. It may be perfect to try in such a cold place, but Jave recommends an immediate follow-up shot of their famous Red Squared, a delicious mix of Russian Standard Platinum, amaretto, and Southern Comfort with fresh juices and pomegranate syrup. This one is sweet, so it’ll definitely make you feel better after that wild chili shot. We also tried their Moscow Melon, a blend of Russian Standard Platinum with Midori melon, pineapple puree, fresh juices and Overproof Vodka. Each ice bar shot will cost you P275.
Imperial Chili Shot
Red Squared and Moscow Melon
If you have a bit of change to spare, Imperial Ice Bar and its delicious appetizers and tasteful alcoholic concoctions might just be the next best trend to follow. Ice bars may be a trend that is difficult to keep up, but being the first of its kind in the Philippines, Imperial Ice Bar is bound to be a welcome escape from the scorching heat of summer.
Images by Jin Joson. Additional photos courtesy of Imperial Ice Bar.