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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 six ice bars in the first two months of 2015. Tickets for most won’t go on sale until January, but the Ice Bar at Portland Harbor Hotel is already selling out, so if you have inclination to go, get on it now. And start marking your calendars for the rest. February 2015 might seem months away, but winter will have you pining for the nearest martini luge before you know it.
Jan. 16-19 and Jan. 23-25| Samoset Resort, 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.
Jan. 22-24 | Portland Harbor Hotel, 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 food from area restaurants and a DJ. Get tickets early – this event sells out every year (Saturday is already sold out for 2015). Tickets: icebar15.brownpapertickets.com
5-10 p.m. Feb. 5-7 | Inn at Brunswick Station, Brunswick | $15 advance, $20 at the door | www.thebrunswickhotelandtavern.com
There’ll be one big ice bar to serve you beer and cocktails, and there’ll be plenty of complimentary hor d’oeuvres, too, as well as live entertainment. And just in case you get too chilly, there’s an indoor area to warm up.
5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 7 | Alfond Center, St. Joseph’s College, Standish | $25 | therock.sjcme.edu
If you’re not a student at St. Joseph’s College, their annual Ice Ball is a good reason to get back 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. Register online at therock.sjcme.edu/event/icebar
Feb. 20-22| Fountain Park, Bates Mill Complex, Lewiston | $15, free on Sunday | 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. $15 on Friday and Saturday (special VIP event on Saturday from 4-5:30 p.m. with a limited number of tickets). The Ice Fest is free and family-friendly on Sunday (there will be food and entertainment for the kids and the igloo might be back).
5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 20 | The Hilton Garden Inn, Freeport | $25 | www.freeportusa.com
There will be a martini luge, of course, and ice sculptures, fires and music, plus food from Buck’s Naked BBQ. But your ticket to the Ice Bar also gets you into the Chef’s Signature Series, where you’ll get to sample food from Freeport’s best chefs, along with Maine beer, wine and spirits.