The Minus 5° Ice Lounge at the Mandalay Bay Hotel is a truly glacial experience. Here’s your chance to totally chill out in the hot, high desert. It’s a supercool Las Vegas experience that won’t leave you cold, even though the room temperature is -5° Celsius, or 23° Fahrenheit to us. Imbibing their special brand of antifreeze helps keep you warm and happy.
The friendly staff helps you into the mandatory cold weather gear, including parkas, boots and mittens (or for an extra fee, fur coats and souvenir Eskimo ear-flap hats). Lockers keep your personal belongings safe and warm. After all, you wouldn’t want a frozen Blackberry, unless it’s a drink.
When you’re all bundled up, you can enter the icy saloon, but are limited to 30 minutes and 3 drinks, due to the extreme cold. Everything inside is frozen and composed of special clear ice, including the bar, benches, tables, Elvis sculpture, and yes, even the glasses that hold the drinks. The specially made cocktail glasses are flown in frozen from New Zealand, home to the original Minus 5°. There are five other locations in New Zealand, Australia and Portugal. Las Vegas is the only U.S. venue, which opened in September, 2008.
Sitting on the icy benches (with deerskin pads), guests are offered a choice of mixed drinks, all with the same basic ingredient – vodka, which doesn’t freeze. Of course, they are properly theme-named and include: Snowflake, The Ice Man, Frozen Fruits, Freezing Apple, Iceberg and Avalanche. A variety of exotic mixes are used to create these tasty treats, including peach schnapps, rock candy syrup, sour apple, coconut and cranberry.
Besides the booze, the roving photographer’s shots are an absolute must for a memento of your Ice Lounge experience. We worried about the bartenders working long hours in such extreme temperatures. They pointed out a warm room directly behind the bar for “defrosting,” which is required for them to work. It’s a tough job, but if your bartender looks a little stressed, I wouldn’t tell him to “chill out.”
Your entry to Minus 5° includes clothing, drinks and a surprisingly good time. Pricing is based on the number of drinks you order and we found it very reasonable considering how expensive adult fun can be these days. For the experience and one specialty drink, its $30. For additional drinks add $10 each. A fur coat upgrade is $20, and for the V.I.P Experience, its $70 per person, which includes 2 cocktails, fur coat, a 5” X 7” photo with frame, and the souvenir Eskimo hat.
When we first heard about Minus 5°, we thought we were going to be uncomfortable and expected to stay only a few minutes. To the contrary, it was a hoot and we didn’t want to leave! In that bone-chilling environment, people’s friendliness seemed to emerge, obviously caught up in the camaraderie of the experience. We figured everyone was laughing and smiling because they didn’t want their faces frozen in a grin! But actually, they were just having plain, cold fun.
Minus 5° Ice Lounge
Shop 101, Mandalay Place, Mandalay Bay
3930 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119