Cold comfort: North Shore ice bar open againIt took 51,000 pounds of ice to build, but Grand Superior Lodge’s Blu Ice Bar is open for business.
By: Tom Olsen, Lake County News Chronicle
It took 51,000 pounds of ice to build, but Grand Superior Lodge’s Blu Ice Bar is open for business.
After just a week of construction, the ice bar opened for its third year of operation last Friday, bigger than ever before.
“It’s gone smoothly. We had a good learning curve (over the first two years) and we have a lot of experience,” said Barb Swenson, marketing director for Odyssey Resorts, which owns Grand Superior Lodge. “There’s nothing like this in the country, I can tell you that.”
Blu, featuring an ice log lodge theme this year, is open Fridays and Saturdays from 4-10 p.m. through mid-March. It’s located in a 2,000-sq. ft. tent near the Grand Superior Lodge along Highway 61.
“It’s right on highway, so it’s an easy stop,” Swenson said. “It’s close enough to Duluth for a lot of day traffic. People can drive up just to visit the bar.”
The bar opened Friday in celebratory fashion, featuring a Charlie Parr concert to help kick off the winter solstice. But the festivities are not over yet – the bar will stay open until midnight and feature live music next Monday to ring in the New Year.
Other than ice, visitors shouldn’t expect to see much from previous years. This winter’s creation features a unique design, including an ice arch entrance, a 16-foot ice chimney and a full-sized replica ice moose head hanging above a fireplace.
Of course, there is a bar made completely of ice, as well as ice chairs and couches, adorned with fur pelts to sit on. There will be entertainment and games throughout the season, as well as a bonfire for warmth.
Construction began on Dec. 14, when a semi-truck hauled in 170 blocks of ice weighing 300 pounds apiece. The same team of ice carvers that worked on the past years’ creations brought the project to life, along with the help of some local carvers, over the course of a week.
“We’re fortunate to have internationally known ice sculptors working on this every year,” Swenson said. “
Swenson estimated that 6,000 customers visited Blu last year. The bar has increased in size each year and seen an increase in attendance to go along with it every time, she said.
“It’s fun to have this in Two Harbors and celebrate winter,” Swenson said. “It’s something that draws a crowd and draws interest to Two Harbors and the northern Minnesota region.”