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Start the night off right at Escobar’s ice bar.

The Ice Bar Cometh

by Jeremy Barbin | Photo by Jason Dewey | Aspen magazine | February 12, 2013

Searching for the coolest place to chill out in Aspen? The merchants of fun on the Hyman Street Mall, Ian Perry and the crew at Escobar have created Aspen’s first semi-permanent ice bar. Weighing in at more than 2,000 pounds the ice bar is the new heavyweight in Aspen après-ski and predinner imbibing.

“As a nightclub, we were looking at ways to increase our business hours and to capitalize on the success of our summertime patio bar,” says Perry, a vibrant 30-something who has the look and speak of a seasoned club owner. “Exposure and revenue are nice, but our main goal in bringing the ice bar to Aspen is to restore some vitality to the Hyman Street Mall area.”

Serving premium Russian Standard vodka and high-end Champagne from 2 to 7pm daily, Escobar hopes to lure people off the slopes and into town.

Scott Rella, from Aspen Vail Ice, worked with Perry and partner Ryan Chadwick to create what has eclipsed the popular bear sculpture made of nails as the most-photographed piece on the mall. Says one mall retailer, “I really can’t say I am a fan of their summertime operation, but, as for the ice bar, I watch people take pictures all day, and, through Twitter or Facebook, those images of Aspen are transmitted to millions daily.” Who can beat that advertising?

LED blue lights and heaters warm up the bar in the frigid nights, and Perry is hunting for vintage fur coats to have available for cozy sipping. Just like Frosty the Snowman, however, when the sun gets hot, the bar melts away. Hopes are that it will last into March—but that is up to Mother Nature, and she doesn’t care about anyone’s business plan. 

“If we make some extra money, that’s great,” says Perry, “but, really, we want to create an atmosphere that improves business for all restaurants and retailers on the mall.” And if Perry is right about his vision—tourists in furs sipping vodka and toasting Champagne—then the rest should be much easier than selling ice to Eskimos.