It’s been quite awhile since I’ve review an izakaya here on the blog, but the one I went to the other night was definitely worthy of praise. Unfortunately, it’s gone as of a few days ago [8/29/2011] but I think it might come back, so I’ll review it anyway.
ICEBAR TOKYO is exactly what you’d expect from the name — a bar made of ice. It’s the Tokyo project of Sweden’s famous ICEHOTEL, a popular tourist attraction. Located in Ginza, ICEBAR is [was] a great place to chill out after work. Pun TOTALLY intended.
These are my friends Ryusuke, Yuri and Yuri, wearing their parka-ponchos at the table. The parkas are provided with gloves, and it’s recommended that you wear them while in the bar because the temperature is kept below freezing [duh!]. You’ll definitely want the gloves on for your drinks, because they aren’t served in glass.
Drinks at ICEBAR are invariably served “in the rocks”. That is to say, instead of putting ice in the drink, they put the drink in ice. The glasses are carved from the same ice [brought from Sweden's Torne River, 125 mi. north of the Arctic Circle] that the bar is made of. I had a sake with Ryusuke. I’ve had sake out of porcelain, out of glass, out of ceramic and out of Japanese cypress, but the ice glass may have been the best of all.
It’s really a shame the ICEBAR is gone. During the summer months, it’s just the thing to cool off and relax. And, since it’s just a two-minute walk from Shimbashi Station, it’s got access from 7 different train lines. Still, I understand it — Japan is trying to conserve energy right now and a bar that needs constant refrigeration isn’t exactly the most socially responsible use of electricity. Hopefully it will be back sometime in the near future when circumstances allow.