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Icy Hot: Inside The Sagamore Resort's Annual Glacier Ice Bar

Sagamore Ice Bar Aerial

Simply a swan sculpture it is not. The Glacier Ice Bar that descends upon The Sagamore Resort every January is an Instagram eye-candy extravaganza entirely made out of ice.


“Everything is made out of ice: the bar, the barstools, the sofas, the chairs, the tables, glasses that you can actually drink out of, even the logos for sponsors, who we couldn’t do it without – all made out of ice,” says Scott Luper, regional director of food and beverage for Opal. He’s referring to the annual Glacier Ice Bar that premiers each January for two weekends at The Sagamore Resort (January 19–20 and January 26–27, 2024) in Bolton Landing, New York. Set on the patio outside La Bella Vita’s lounge, this icy presentation has become an annual wintertime tradition since first premiering in 2014. The event draws tourists and locals alike to sip on the coldest cocktails around in one of the most unique settings, the 2024 ice bar experience will be available to the public as well as overnight hotel guests. Here’s what you can expect to look forward to.

18,000 Pounds of Ice Transformed

Like usual, the elaborate display all starts with between 60 to 100 300-pound blocks of ice and a multi-person sculpting team, which includes directors of food and beverage, executive chefs, and members of other Opal culinary teams. The hulking blocks are unloaded with hand trucks and lugged around before the carving commences. Chainsaws, ice chisels, and hot aluminum pieces chip away and shape the blocks. Then, for lack of a better word, they’re glued together before starting the outlining and carving process. “When the ice freezes together, you go ahead and outline what you’re going to do, and you start detailing them,” says Luper. “It’s not easy work. We’ve had to scramble a couple times when we had warm Januarys and things melted and we had to rebuild.”

The End Results

 

Interactive pieces – like an ice piano with working keys and sculpted characters that guests can pose in front of for photo opps – are always the biggest hits. “Years ago, we themed the whole experience around polar bears. The back bar was done to look like a big glacier, and then we sculpted these massive polar bears that stood 16 feet tall,” says Luper.

What to Expect for 2024?

The intention of the annual ice bars is to entertain and amaze, so what better defines that than the wild whimsy world of the Big Top? That’s right, circus is the inspiration for this year’s theme. While​ the exact interactive ice creations, various sculptures, and other elements are still in the brainstorming phases at this time, this year will sure make for one sleek spectacle you won’t want to miss. And what cold weather event would be complete without chili and chowder? Just head on over to the Comfort Zone for warm cocktails and food. If you’re feeling more laid back, the spa will be open for pampering (be sure to book appointments in advance). To top it all off we’ll have fireworks Friday and Saturday nights. This event is open to hotel guests and pre-purchase ticket holders only, so be sure to plan ahead and reserve a spot before we sell out! Tickets are available for non-hotel guests here.

Where to Stay The Sagamore Resort

Sagamore Ice Bar Clock
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