By far the coolest bar in Amsterdam, the Xtracold Icebar is kept at a chilly 14°F (-10°C) and everything from the walls and stools to the cocktail glasses are made entirely out of ice. A visit takes you on a drinking adventure based on Dutch explorers’ 1590s expeditions in search of the Northeast Passage.
The bar’s theme is based on the story of one of Dutch navigator Willem Barentsz’s three attempts to find the Northeast Passage. The bar includes a “warm” lounge as well as the main ice bar, and tickets include three drink (options include a selection of beer and wine and a handful of signature cocktails).
Visitors can book tickets to the Icebar or a package that also includes a sightseeing canal cruise. You can also visit with an I amsterdam City Card, which offers discounted admission along with free entry to museums and use of the city’s public transportation.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Icebar provides coats and gloves are provided; shorts and skirts are not recommended.
- The bar’s tickets sell out early; make sure to reserve ahead, especially on weekends.
- Visitors must be 18 or older to enter the Icebar.
- The bar offers non-alcoholic mocktails, soft drinks, and juice in addition to its more potent drinks.
- Wheelchairs can enter the bar, but they have to be lifted over a 2-inch (5-centimeter) step to enter the Icebar itself.
How to Get There
The XtraCold Icebar is located next to the Amstel River, just steps from the building housing the Dutch Opera and Ballet and Waterlooplein square. To reach the bar by tram, take the 4 or 9 from Amsterdam Central Station to the Rembrandtplein stop. Alternatively, take metro line 51, 53, or 54 and get out at the Waterlooplein station. Hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses also stop at the Icebar.
When to Get There
The XtraCold Icebar is open Sunday–Thursday, from just before noon until a little after midnight, and Friday–Saturday from just before noon until almost 3am, with extended hours during the peak tourist month of August. The Icebar closes for a few days each January or February for renovations, so check the schedule before visiting during that time.
Stranded on Nova Zembla
Xtracold Ice Bar recreates a historic arctic adventure: While searching for the Northeast Passage, the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz became stuck between icebergs, and his ship’s crew had to wait out the winter on the uninhabited island of Nova Zembla. They took apart their boat to build a structure, endured starvation, and fended off polar bears until the ice melted enough to build a small craft and sail away.