Las Vegas ice for new Queenstown bar

General manager of Queenstown's newest ice bar Blair Pattinson in front of the Searle Lane site, which will soon contain what is thought to be the southern hemisphere's biggest ice bar. Photo by Joe Dodgshun.
General manager of Queenstown's newest ice bar Blair Pattinson in front of the Searle Lane site, which will soon contain what is thought to be the southern hemisphere's biggest ice bar. Photo by Joe Dodgshun.
Queenstown is set to get even chillier next month with the opening of a new ice bar, believed to be the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

Under construction in a large ground-floor lot in Searle Lane, the new bar - to be created using 33 tonnes of ice imported from Las Vegas - is to open early to mid-July.

Blair Pattinson, general manager of the Below Zero brand establishment, on Friday told the Queenstown Times it would be, at the very least, the biggest ice bar in New Zealand and Australia.

"It's going to be the biggest and newest ice bar in Australasia, with things that have never been done in an ice bar before.

"It might be the biggest one in the southern hemisphere - we can't find a bigger one so far," he said.

The development is worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars", all of it bankrolled by a consortium of family trusts out of Christchurch and around New Zealand, Mr Pattinson said.

Freighting the ice alone is costing more than $100,000.

Although they would have preferred to construct the bar from homegrown ice, Mr Pattinson said every time their Christchurch supplier's tried to make it "there's an aftershock and it disrupts it".

Once the ice arrives, two ice carvers "respected as some of the best ice carvers in the world", and also behind Las Vegas' two ice bars and Christchurch's Below Zero bar, will come from Philadelphia in the United States, to build the bar.

Mr Pattinson said the bar would hold up to 48 people.

When asked if there was room for another ice bar in Queenstown, Mr Pattinson said they believed there was, especially due to the Searle Lane location.

"It's similar to a smaller version of Sol Square in Christchurch. "The whole area is becoming quite good ... and the foot-traffic is great at night, so it seems like an ideal place for a new venture."

He said the "explosion" in the number of ice bars in the past five or six years also meant a whole wave of new technology and advances around ice bars. One such installation in the bar would be a colour-changing ice lighting system.