COURTESY MINUS 5 GROUP
THAT'S CHILL: Minus 5 Ice Lounge opens next year in Waikiki -- only the second location in the U.S., behind Las Vegas. Guests are given appropriate cool-weather clothing, and all furnishings are made out of ice, such as the candleholders, above.
Cool night spot coming to Waikiki
No Hawaii nightclub requires patrons to wear a parka, gloves and mukluks, but that will change when Minus 5 Ice Lounge opens in Waikiki next year.
Talk about a dress code!
Hoochie-type skin exposure is inadvisable, given the club's minus-5-degree Celsius (23-degree Fahrenheit) interior temperature and its bar, chairs, candelabras, decorative sculptures and glasses all made from ice.
Guests get winter gear at the door at all its locations, and the same will be true Sept. 24 when it opens at the Mandalay Place retail complex in Las Vegas.
It will be the first U.S. location for the New Zealand-based Minus 5 Group, which opened its first sub-zero night spot in Auckland in 2002 and followed up with another in New Zealand, two in Australia and one in Portugal.
Group Operations Manager Anthony Leender could not divulge the exact spot in Waikiki as the lease is not quite final, but said, "We're hoping to open by February or March of 2009. Probably late March."
The company hopes to attract local people as well as visitors from the mainland, Japan and Europe.
Minus 5 charges $30 admission which includes use of the winter gear and a vodka cocktail or alcohol-free mocktail for a half-hour "experience," Leender called it.
No cameras are allowed, as Minus 5 has a professional photographer taking shots of customers that are available for purchase upon exiting, as is other merchandise.
Patrons can continue in to the club's Aspen ski-lodge-themed bar, which is also open for customers who don't want the ice-time.
Corporate functions are a big part of Minus 5's business and the Vegas location will include a wedding chapel with white faux fur wedding dresses and groom-wear.
"Minus 5 is far from a freezer, as many of our competitors have learned," said President and founder Craig Ling in a statement.
There are other all-ice hospitality operations in the world, as seen on TV travel shows.
"We spent more than two years developing and engineering our concept and the result is a comfortable, arid ice environment for our patrons that involves no wind, wind chill or humidity inside the ice lounge -- a rarity for attractions of this nature," Ling said.
The ice fixtures and sculptures are carved from Canadian ice. The Web site of Canada-based Iceculture Inc. identifies Minus 5 as a customer.
Minus 5's beverage ware is frozen New Zealand spring water.
More Ice Lounges are planned for New York, Los Angeles, Miami, India, Singapore, Dubai and Manila. Its next opening this year will be in the Grand Cayman Islands.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org