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Coming soon to King West: the world’s biggest “permanent ice lounge”

(Image: Chill Ice House/Facebook)

(Image: Chill Ice House/Facebook)

It takes balls to open a frigid winter fortress in Toronto just as the city is finally beginning to thaw. That’s not stopping entrepreneur Gresham Bayley from betting that his massive ice lounge will be a hit when it opens at King and Bathurst this spring. Bayley has helped set up ice lounges all over the world with Iceculture Inc., a business owned by his family, and now he’s branching out in a big way. At an anticipated 1,300 square feet, Chill Ice House is set to become the largest year-round ice lounge in the world.

But what is an ice lounge, exactly? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a bar-slash-tourist attraction where everything (except for the floors and ceiling) is made out of ice. That means the tables, the chairs, the bar, the glassware—even the curtains. Three huge condensing units will keep the interior temperature between -5 and -10 degrees Celsius, and patrons will be provided with parkas to stay comfy. So basically, it’s a giant deep freezer that serves booze and bites.

For the latter, Bayley is in talks with Rodney’s Oyster House to provide a Canadian-style tapas menu featuring oysters and beef tartare, as well as cozy comfort dishes like poutine, which will be served in an adjacent, non-ice-encased events space. If all goes according to plan, the ice house should be up and running by March.

  • joe

    What an awful waste of resources. Imagine what it takes to maintain that temperature?

  • realpigasus

    crass

  • c_snapper

    what a stupid idea. i hope this place fails for 1. it’s stupid unoriginal concept 2. a waste of resources. i’ll be shocked if they last more than 15 months.

  • JOHN

    WHINNNNNNNEERRRRRSSSSS THE LOT OF YA !!!

  • Melissa

    never been to one of these, pretty pumped to have one in tdot!

  • Julia

    I understand if this was only a seasonal concept (open during the winter months). This being said having an ice lounge during the hot 25 degree summer weather is a complete waste of resources, terrible for the environment and only perpetuate global warming and energy issues.

  • Ash

    I’ve been to one of these! Its basically a walk in freezer, same as hundreds of restaurants have across the city, so your arguments on resources appear a bit weak. Great to have fresh ideas and energy in the city – not to mention jobs and entertainment. Such negative Nancy’s.

  • brace

    Get off your keyboards. You people are wastes of resources. This is going to be the hottest spot in toronto. Figuratively speaking

  • heddington

    this place will succeed I know the owner personally he has a great sense of business and sales I have personally worked in the ice industry for 11 years so think what you want the sky is the limit and he’s in it to win it.can’t wait to come and chilllll

  • 163_1

    Go back in your cave and keep trying to figure out how to make fire.

  • c_snapper

    Got the fire thing sorted, have a bunch of lighters in my cave

  • c_snapper

    i’m willing to guess that most walk in freezers at restaurants and bars across the city are not THAT big…

  • 163_1

    Don’t take them to the ice bar with you !!

  • c_snapper

    i don’t dare…wouldn’t want to ruin it for all the suckers that paid $20 to go into a giant fridge…

  • Mark Harding

    guys liberty group already did this. They turned the patio at c lounge in to a ice bar every winter 99 -2002.. been there done that old news

  • Guest

    I am an ice carving specialist. And know the guys doing this project. The answer will surprise you. In fact it might shock you: Chill is actually projected to use LESS ENERGY than the outdated office space that was previously here – and we view it as a textbook example of what can be achieved with minimal energy… when using intelligent design.
    The key to this miracle is a combination of consumption (like everyone always talks about… like discussing mileage on a car) but equally importantly is the more boring CONSERVATION of energy. That’s the unsung hero of green construction. When we first turned the ice room on during that heat wave in early August – and it went from 85 degrees to 25 in under 30 minutes – we knew we had an efficient system. But it was when we turned it off – and it stayed cold for days – that we all smiled about building a TRULY excellent design. The key to green building is not keeping things unplugged, so to speak, but to make sure that energy doesn’t go out the window…

    In this case, our walls are built to an insulative factor 5 times greater compared to most buildings and more than most freezers. Coupled with an airlock transition room (and warm capes to keep pesky body heat from getting out), we achieve what industry folks call “coasting”… meaning the room enjoys that high school “a body in motion stays in motion” with its temperature. Its like how your freezer at home uses less energy once full of frozen food, rather than when empty. In that way it was gratifying to watch the temperature *drop* as we delivered and installed the 100,000 pounds of (reclaimed-water) ice – even with the doors open and the cooler barely running!

    So, to get further nerdy, we use LED lighting, natural light, recycled and reclaimed materials and insulation, waterless urinals (ok now I’m getting too green for you) but it all adds up to what amazing feats can be achieved with minimal energy… IF something is designed around the need to be efficient.

    And knowing is half the battle

  • Guest

    In this case, our walls are built to an insulative factor 5 times greater compared to most buildings and more than most freezers. Coupled with an airlock transition room (and warm capes to keep pesky body heat from getting out), we achieve what industry folks call “coasting”… meaning the room enjoys that high school “a body in motion stays in motion” with its temperature. Its like how your freezer at home uses less energy once full of frozen food, rather than when empty. In that way it was gratifying to watch the temperature *drop* as we delivered and installed the 100,000 pounds of (reclaimed-water) ice – even with the doors open and the cooler barely running!

  • Guest

    We actually were the ones that transformed the back of C Lounge into an Ice Bar. That was a very small scale of what we are doing at Chill. Believe me, you have not been here, or done this. Look forward to showing you.

  • teryaki

    is there a projected opening date?

 

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