Polar Play ice bar set to debut in Scottsdale

Posted at 6:37 PM, May 18, 2017

If you're looking for a way to stay cool during Arizona's triple-digit summers, why not hit the bar? An ice bar that is!

At a chilly 23 degrees, Polar Play is believed to be the first ice bar in our state. Similar to the ones in Vegas, everything is made of ice -- the bar, the chairs, the checkers and checkerboard, and even the bag toss.

Though different, Polar Play is not just a bar. During the day, it stands as a family-friendly ice experience and scavenger hunt. At night, it will eventually become an adults-only bar.

It's one of the newest tenants at the Odysea in the Desert complex near Loop 101 and Via de Ventura. It will officially open to the public on Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m.

Owner Miriam Hayenga, who also owns Modern Grove, let ABC15 in on Thursday for an early peek.

FIRST LOOK: Flip through our gallery to see more photos from inside Polar Play


After being equipped with the winter essentials -- a winter jacket and mittens -- you will step through the freezer door to a world of ice. You'd almost expect Olaf to make an appearance. (He doesn't, I'm sorry to say.)

Instead, you'll see Aurora Borealis laser-projected onto the castle-like walls of ice, various animal ice sculptures, and backyard games made out of ice. There are a few benches and chairs throughout where guests can sit or take a selfie between two penguins.

Fun fact: there are an estimated 150,000 pounds of ice in the room. It was all carved by Mark Armitage, a local ice master.

Hidden within the wall are nearly a dozen winter-related figurines, including an Eskimo, animal eggs, and a tiny penguin. Guests can download the Polar Play app via their phone's app store, to go on a scavenger hunt to find the figurines and learn how their history.


As the day ends and enters the evening, Polar Play will turn into an adults-only bar, where "sloshies" -- alcoholic slushies -- will be served, along with beer and spirits.

To start, Polar Play will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. After some time, the hours may be adjusted.


When you first walk in, guests enter the warming hut which feels more like a lounge you'd find up north. Wood chairs surround a fireplace, and a handful of wood tables are set up in the family area. There is a private room in the back. The main bar and beer taps are in the Warming Hut, along with the kitchen.


To go into the ice experience, it is priced per hour. Children are $10 each and adults are $15. That includes mittens and a parka. There is a $50 upgraded experience that includes a fur parka to use, gloves, a souvenir hat, and a framed photo. 


Chef Dustin Cooke, who is also behind Modern Grove's locations at Odysea in the Desert, developed the food menu for Polar Play. He went with a baked potato bar.

The menu features eight baked potato combinations cheekily named after popular '90s television shows, such as the "Patty Mayonnaise" -- sweet potato with smoked turkey breast, sun-dried tomato mayo, cheddar jack cheese, sour cream and cheddar chips, and tomato -- or the "Ah, Real Monster Potato," which is a two-pound Idaho potato with double butter, corn and broccoli cheddar soup, and chopped bacon.

Food ranges from $9 to $15, with most in the $14-$15 range.

For the kids, there is mac and cheese, a peanut butter and jelly hoagie, buttered baked potato or sweet potato with maple cream. Those run around $8.

There are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. For the kids, slushies are available. The name changes to "sloshies" for adults.

Polar Play Ice Bar
9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale AZ 85256