Where’s the coolest bar in the Caribbean?
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
This is definitely the coolest bar in the Caribbean.
In fact, a more accurate description would be frigid. How better to characterize the “weather” inside Norwegian Getaway’s Svedka Vodka and Inniskillin Ice Wine Ice Bar, where the temperature is a bone-chilling 15 degrees Fahrenheit?
It strikes me as ironic that each evening so many of Getaway’s passengers, who’ve boarded in search of sunny Caribbean climes, flock to this wintery watering hole, donning hooded ponchos and gloves and paying a $19.95-per-person premium to experience a temperature worse than the one they’ve fled from at home.
But they do.
It’s gotta be the drinks, I think. The cover charge includes two beverages from the Ice Bar’s list of specialty cocktails (all made with liquor from the namesake sponsors) and served in tumblers containing smoking chunks of dry ice. I’ve been told that they’re concocted with higher amounts of alcohol and stronger flavor profiles than typical cocktails because when it’s this cold, our taste buds just don’t function the way they usually do.
Still, as many as 25 cruisers at a time pack the tiny bar that’s smaller than the cold room at your local Costco, savoring (or, in my case, braving) this unique Miami-themed experience, where ice wall murals depict South Beach street scenes and salsa music blares from the sound system.
Some patrons belly up to the bar (also made of ice) and chat while the bartender, clad in a fur hat, makes their Sitting On The Dock of the Biscayne Bay (Svedka citron vodka, Inniskillin ice wine, lemon-line soda). Others amuse themselves snapping selfies while seated on an ice “throne.” And some, like me, try to stop their teeth from chattering and body from shivering long enough to finish their first cocktail.
Noticing my discomfort, the bartender chuckles and tells me that the record for the longest visit to the bar is 45 minutes. “They were Canadians,” he says. “They even took off their shirts. It was like summer in here to them.”
I look down at my watch and see that I’ve lasted a mere six minutes. Can I make it to 10? I think not. I knock back my drink and make a beeline for the heavy metal door that separates me from the balmy breezes that await on deck.
Because although this is the coolest bar in the Caribbean, some of us like it hot.