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