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Aucklander Victor Cagayat is building a cocktail lounge from 25 tonnes of ice at Future Hospitality Group’s latest venture, Queenstown Ice Bar, at the resort’s Upper Village dining and lifestyle hub.
Cagayat said he was expecting to complete the job for owners James Ace and Bert Haines in about three weeks.
He had been sculpting "everything that’s possible to carve" — including margarine, chocolate and vegetables — for about 30 years.
Using skills gained from woodcarving, he got into the line of work for big hotels in the country of his birth, the Philippines.
Since migrating to New Zealand, he had been in demand here and in Australia.
Mr Ace said he planned to open the bar last month, but the Auckland lockdown prevented Cagayat from coming south.
With space for up to 50 guests, it would be a "little more plush, with Scandinavian touches" than Minus5 Ice Bar, which they had owned for a decade.
"We know people love the concept, they love the experience, they love Queenstown and exploring and doing new things, and we’re just adding to that."