Winter and ice go hand-in-hand, and it wouldn’t be winter in the Lake George Area without the local Ice Bars. These beautiful and completely functional bars are cut and carved out of massive blocks of the ice. They draw huge crowds, because ice cold drinks served up on a bone-chilling bar is as cool as it gets. The Ice Bar phenomenon has taken off in the Lake George Area in recent years. There are several major Ice Bars every season, and each one is a unique night out on the town.
The scene is swanky and elegant at the Sagamore Resort. Men hold their cocktails in winter gloves, and women are keeping warm in their finest coats and scarves. Everyone is holding an ice cold signature cocktail. It’s called the Glacier Ice Bar and Lounge for a reason: it’s all about ice. The sides of the Sagamore’s outdoor Veranda are lined with love-seats, penguin porters, and cocktail tables, all carved out of ice and back lit. Small groups of couples gather on the love-seats and around cocktail tables, bundled up and enjoying the conversation and brisk air.
The Sagamore’s Ice Bar and Lounge begins as 18,000 pounds of solid ice. Then master ice carver Tim Pierce goes to work. Through the use of chisel, hammer, and chainsaw, these massive blocks of ice are turned into an exquisite Ice Bar.
The physical Ice Bar is a thing to behold. It’s the size of the bar at your usual watering hole, standing four feet tall, with stools of covered ice to keep your behind from freezing. The detail of the bar is what amazes me. The backboard of the bar, where there is typically a mirror, is an ice silhouette of the Sagamore’s iconic bell tower. The foot boards are dotted with grape sized indentations. Rivets in the splash guards recall an actual bar. Bottles of vodka and other alcohols are placed with care behind the bar, lit from underneath and glimmering. A chunk of ice carved into an “ice luge” is poised on the side of the bar, ready for someone to step up for a shot.
The Sagamore’s Ice Bar does exactly what you would expect: creates a winter wonderland of ice for hundreds to enjoy. The Sagamore Ice Bar will be serving drinks for the weekends of January 20th-22nd, and January 27th-29th.
The Funky Ice Fest at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery is significantly different affair. While the focus of the Glacier Ice Bar and Lounge is solely on the ice bar, the focus of Funky Ice Fest is spread among several different icy creations. It is a festival based around all of the strange and unique things that humans can do with ice.
This year’s Funky Ice Fest theme is Interactive Ice. The awesome ice sculptures, an Ice Bar for the ages, and even a functioning Ice Piano, create a merry atmosphere that is not unlike other events at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery. And when those delicious, Adirondack inspired beers start to flow, you’re not going to want to leave.
And that’s before mentioning the funk. Funky Ice Fest stars DJ Derek, who will be keeping the party lively with all of those funky hits that you haven’t heard in years. If you have a favorite deep-track buried deep in your basement that is sure to get the whole festival dancing, make sure you bring your dusty old vinyl. Funky Ice Fest’s BYOV (bring your own vinyl) policy makes sure that no underground funk superstar will be missed.
This year, they’ve spread the funky goodness over two weekends, to ensure everyone has their fill of funk. The Adirondack Pub & Brewery’s Funky Ice Fest will be held on January 20th-22nd and January 27th-29th. Along with two separate ice bars this year, they’ll also feature drinks from local establishments, including Adirondack Winery, Lake George Distilling Company, Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery, Champlain Orchards, and the Saratoga Courage Distillery.
As the Ice Bar phenomenon continues to grow in the Lake George Area, more local businesses are carving out their own take on the ice bar. The Inn at Erlowest will be holding their inaugural Winterfest at Erlowest this year, and the main event is a fire bar.
If you’ve never been to the Inn at Erlowest, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. This former private residence, built in 1898 as a part of Millionaire’s Row, has been restored to its former glory. It is a mostly stone structure, resembling a medieval castle, featuring ten luxurious guest rooms, snow covered lawns leading down to the lake, and views of Lake George that rank up with the best of them.
The Inn at Erlowest’s gorgeous back patio will be the center of the winter festivities. While Winterfest at Erlowest will have a fire bar instead of the typical ice bar, they will still be serving the signature cocktails that make these events a must-attend. Coupled with the fantastic views of Lake George and the distant mountains, the patio also has a blazing stone fireplace for when that cocktail gets a little bit too chilly.
After you’ve downed a cocktail or two, head inside to the ballroom for appetizing offerings from Lake George Area businesses. Executive Chef Adam Padilla will be serving up samples of the Inn at Erlowest’s fine cuisine. Local mainstays such as the Adirondack Pub & Brewery and the Lake George Olive Oil Company will be giving out food and drink as well. If you need a quick warm-me-up, a s’more and hot chocolate station will be there to help. Live entertainment will be enhancing the atmosphere every Saturday of the Winterfest.
Beginning on Saturday, January 21st, Winterfest at Erlowest will span five Saturdays. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Lake George Region for Women in Need.
Winter can be a cold and quiet season, but it doesn’t have to be in the Lake George Area. With remarkable events like these three Ice Bars, there’s no reason not to check out the Lake George Area. So bundle up, grab your warmest hat and your thickest coat, and give your friends a call. Eventually these bars are going to melt.