We’re in the thick of Shanghai’s sweat, muggy summer. It’s oppressive. It’s unrelenting. You think that’s just sweat? No, oh no, believe it or not, you’re being melted down for ore, slowly but surely, in the flesh and bone crucible that is Shanghai in the summer. Forget pools, forget balconies, forget that weird green stuff you dab on your neck. Time to break out the big guns.
On the other side of the river, in boiling Pǔdōng, lies what might as well be a secret shelter from the heat, an ultimate weapon in the war on heat, a (pricey) ice bar where you can get drunk and freeze your balls/lady bits off— The Snow Bar at Binjiang One. It’s the last of its kind—not on account of being overpriced and half-baked. Bonus: It comes with vodka.
Indeed, after Taste of Scandinavia’s Viking raiders closed shop and sailed home, Snow Bar at Binjiang One is the last…one…of its kind. To get to this nuclear (the sun counts as nuclear) shelter, you’ll have to journey through an ivy-covered pathway that would make the architects of Babylon’s Hanging Gardens green with envy. After the path, you’ll walk among the dining tables of the Kafer Restaurant until you find yourself in a cozy lounge with a warm crackling fire. That lounge holds the entrance to the last of the ice bars.
Big coats, probably from way up north, are provided upon walking in, and believe me they will keep your personal hide comfortable. The room glows with alternating blue and purple auras that make for that arctic atmosphere, as if you’re under stars and northern lights. Furthermore, piles of ice lie in the round-high table’s center, and the room is dead silent—no music. And the place was as empty as the Antarctic tundra—not even a penguin or narwhal in site. It’s as if you are really lost in the sub-zero zone and could die of exposure, if it weren’t for what’s behind the bar. Thing is, what’s behind the bar might explain the emptiness.
Endless rows of vodka bottles lines the icy shelves, maybe because Vodka shots cost between 65-95 RMB. From Holland’s Van Gogh selection to Sweden’s Absolut, there are over 130 different varieties and 20 different countries to choose from.
If you have the money to burn for warmth, you’re in for a drinking experience that might quench a dead hot summer. The cold temperature makes paint thinner vodka shots feel smoother, fruitier, to the point that taking one after another is easy. Smirnoff watermelon vodka shots went from harsh and chemical to sweet and soft. Of course, the cold-lubed shots are none the weaker. When you step out of the icy room, you might just realize this when you strip down and melt down into a sweat puddle because you weren’t ready to be back in the heat..
Fùchéng Road, Bīnjiāng Dàdào
11:30 AM until midnight