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Curl Up at the Royal Lexington Ice Bar

Holly Andersen is ready for her closeup on the Instagramable frozen throne.

Nick Upton

Given the balmy weather last week for the grand opening of the ice bar atop the Lexington in St. Paul, attendees were looking forward to more of a water slide. But, as Jack Riebel, co-owner and executive chef said after some brief warm-weather difficulties, things are looking good.

“The weather was not our friend,” said Riebel, describing how the team set up the various ice sculptures. “But even at 40 degrees, the sculptures will last a while.”

Lucky for Riebel and less lucky for commuters, the weather returned to normal and the ice sculptures will all be OK.

The rooftop that is typically a tropical paradise in the summer months is now decked with gorgeous, light-up ice sculptures created by Minnesota Ice Sculptures. Of course there is a bar too, a 1,200-pound behemoth decked out by sponsor partners Kettle One, Red Bull and Crown Royal. Ice bar-goers can even receive their specialty cocktails via luge. The miniature luge track super-chills the drinks as it slides down a course designed to mimic the St. Paul Crashed Ice course.

Of course one could hardly have an ice bar in St. Paul without an homage to the great sport of curling. Riebel said one of the Lexington managers, who trains with the local who’s-who-of-curling, put together miniature curling courts with true-to-scale measurements. While there are no tiny brooms, the game serves as a fun amusement and entree into the sport for fans in town during Super Bowl week.

There is plenty of ice and stump seating around the new fireplace, but the star of the show is the massive ice throne, or the “Instagram area” according to Riebel. It’s a massive, solid chunk of ice that while cold on the tukus, makes for some impressive selfies — not to mention some great social media branding for the restaurant.

All that ice adds up, and Riebel said capacity has been slimmed slightly to about 100 to 150 because of all the additional weight. To keep things safe and solid, they employed a few tricks. The ice throne, for one, sits atop a wooden platform, the same goes for the bar backdrop.


The ice bar opened on January 19 and will be open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through February 10.


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