There’s something about an ice bar martini luge that makes hanging out outside during the cold Maine winter just a bit more fantastic. I mean, we embrace all of Maine’s seasons, and the winter is no exception. But add in a few thousand pounds of carved ice, some bonfires, cocktails, food and live music, and, well, winter might just be one of our favorite seasons after all.
At last count there are eight ice bars in the first two months of 2016. Tickets for most are on sale now (and the Ice Bar at Portland Harbor Hotel is already selling out, so if you have inclination to go, get on it). And start marking your calendars for the rest. February 2016 might seem months away, but winter will have you pining for the nearest martini luge before you know it.
Jan. 15-17 and Jan. 22-23, Samoset Resort, 220 Warrenton St., Rockport. Free admission. www.samosetresort.com/ice-bar-lounge/
20,000 pounds of glacial ice. That’s a lot of frozen water. The Samoset is transforming it into a swanky ice lounge on two weekends in January (weather permitting, of course). There’s no admission cost, just the cost of your cocktails. And if you need to warm up, head in to Enoteca Wine Bar for hors d’oeuvres or enjoy dinner and entertainment at La Bella Vita.
7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Jan. 15 and 16, Spire 29, 29 School St., Gorham. $10. spire29.com
There’ll be ice luges outside serving up chilled ice bar drinks, as well as a full bar inside with music from DJ Chris Bouchard. Plenty of drinks and snacks and you can have your photo taken in the photo booth! This is Spire’s second annual ice bar – looks like it’s becoming a tradition! Get tickets: holdmyticket.com
5 to 9 p.m. Jan. 21-23 (Saturday is already sold out), Portland Harbor Hotel, 468 Fore St., Portland. $25, $33 with drink ticket. www.portlandharborhotel.com
This annual event features bars carved out of ice in the courtyard (and martini luges to chill the drinks and fire pits to keep you warm) plus complimentary food, beer bar and a DJ. Get tickets early – this event sells out every year (Saturday is already sold out for 2016). Tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com
5 to 10 p.m. Feb. 4-6, Inn at Brunswick Station, Brunswick, $16 in advance, $20 at the door. www.thebrunswickhotelandtavern.com
There will be an ice bar and drink luge (but of course) plus live entertainment and food from the tavern (like pork potato skins and house pretzels with dipping sauce). Tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com
7 to 10 p.m. Jan. 30, David’s KPT, 21 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport. $50 in advance, $66 at the door. boathouseme.com/dining
Custom ice bar? Check. Drink luge? Check. Plus s’mores, hot chocolate bars, entertainment and light fare by Chef David Turin. Ticket price includes two signature drinks, and there will be a cash bar, too. For tickets: frostedicebar.bpt.me
6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 6, Alfond Center, St. Joseph’s College, 278 Whites Bridge Road, Standish. $25 before Jan. 23, $30 after. www.sjcme.edu
If you’re not a student at St. Joseph’s College, their annual Ice Ball is a good reason to get on campus. The ball includes an ice bar (cash bar), fire pits and an indoor lounge to warm up and hang out. It’s open to the public, so long as you’re over 21. Fun attire encouraged and the event is open to alumni, friends and the local community. Register online at www.sjcme.edu
5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 21, Fountain Park, Bates Mill Complex, Lewiston. VIP Friday night: $25 in advance, $30 at the door, Saturday: $15 in advance, $20 at the door, Sunday Family Day: Free for children 18 and under, $2.50 adults in advance, $5 adults at the door. icefestla.com
By mid-February, winter ice can get pretty thick. Put that ice to work in your favor at the Ice Festival of Lewiston/Auburn, where frosty beverages are served up with a twist and where winter ice is carved into ice bars and cool ice sculptures and ice luges for chilled winter drinks. Because ice doesn’t seem so bad when it’s serving you a cocktail. There’s also food from area restaurants, live music and plenty of revelry to keep everyone warm. Friday is VIP night and Sunday is family friendly and free for kids.
5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19 and 5 to 8 p.m. Feb 20, The Hilton Garden Inn, 5 Park St., Freeport. $27.37 to $43.19. www.freeportusa.com
Frosty beverages, ice sculptures, twinkling lights, snow machines and roaring fires. That’s how Freeport does an Ice Bar! On Friday night, enjoy cocktails in the courtyard and then head inside to dance to the funky tunes of Motor Booty Affair. On Saturday, the Ice Bar runs in conjunction with the Chef’s Signature Series event and there will be a DJ. Both events are part of the Flavors of Freeport Weekend. More on that and tickets: www.eventbrite.com