View Full Version : Making an ice bar - materials and system

27-04-2014, 06:33 AM
Hi Guys

I work in the field of temporary construction for events and exhibitions and have been asked to construct an ice bar experience for a client. These are the things were you get a coat, go inside, get to drink out of an ice cup, touch the ice etc.

I was hoping you might be able to give some guidance on a few fronts as well as let me know any considerations that we might have overlooked. Once we have the design concept in place we will be building a full scale mockup to check for any issues.

The original idea was to use refrigerated shipping containers that have had the walls removed and then sat next to each other on site. What do you guys think of this idea? My concern with this is the difficulty in transporting the containers to the site they are needed at.

So instead I am looking at constructing what would essentially be a cold room within the truss-based structure we are building. My idea with this was to hang insulating panels on the walls and make the roof out of more of the same panels which would be suspended by sitting them within an aluminium frame (much the same as a suspended roof tile system).

For cooling I am thinking of buying in the refrigeration systems from used refrigerated containers. The reason I thought this would be a good idea over building a system from scratch is that they are tried and tested, have a good support network, are built to be transported and are cost effective. Or should I look at getting an contractor to make me a system for this?

There will be an air lock between the bar area and guest entrance

The rooms needs to be 12m x 12m with a ceiling of at least 2.2m. It will be operation in winter time in Western Europe where outside air temperature will certainly not exceed 15 degrees

What do you all think of the above ideas?

Have you ever built one of these and what lessons did you learn?

Should I have the evaporate side in the container or should I be forcing air into the space to maintain positive pressure?

What temperature should I work to for the space?

Is relative humidity a consideration?

how will the space cope with large numbers of people going through it in terms of humidity from breath?

Thanks in advance and speak soon!

27-04-2014, 06:37 AM
Also, what material should I use for the walls and roof? There seems to be a lot of choices of sheet insulation material. For me a key requirement is durability of material as I intend to reuse these many times.

27-04-2014, 10:41 AM
I think you definitely need to involve a specialist refrigeration contractor for this one dude. You definitely need a system well designed and fit for purpose. Any mistakes and your ice bar could quickly become a pool bar...

27-04-2014, 10:45 AM
Use the best and thickest cold room panels your budget will allow. Many manufactures will be able to supply panels which simply lock together and unlock with an Allen key, so nice and easy to build and dismantle. You can clad the exterior as you wish and probably just felt the roof.

27-04-2014, 11:33 AM
Hey Newman ref.

I was thinking of using the king span cold zone system. What do you think?

In terms of finding a good contractor, what area should I look in? I have spoken to a few people but find them all to only "know what they know" ie not be much into thinking outside the box and working with me to find new ways of doing things.

Needless to say this is an unusual application and one that conventional approaches alone will solve.

27-04-2014, 11:40 AM
I'm sure the King span system would be adequate for your needs.

Where in the UK are you? And where will the mock up be constructed.

We always like a new challenge a May be able to help.

monkey spanners
27-04-2014, 11:55 AM
There was an article a while back in one of the trade mags where they used a specially designed tent as a temporary cold room, was designed for event catering. would be easier to set up and less likely to be damaged in transport than panels though i expect the cooling loads would be higher.

Tempro Dome,


28-04-2014, 06:11 AM
There was one here, stacked up clear block ice everywhere for bar etc., blue lights a couple of blowers and around -5.0' c . They rented out cooler jackets and served vodka.
You could say the idea melted away after a period of time. Women hated the place nipples stuck out like organ stops

28-04-2014, 08:47 AM
I still look after this site. My company, before I joined them, designed and built it, with the help of a mechanical engineer.

Still has the same equipment and is now about 15 years old and (relatively) still going strong.

The refrigeration and panel system I can help with, the ice glasses are another thing altogether. They were made by another company that specializes in ice sculptures etc. They keep the manufacturing process of the glasses close to ther chest.

The refrigeration equipment is sort of in an anti chamber and behind a wall of ice, to keep the noise down. Quite grunty gear and room itself is about 8m x 8m. Lots of ice, the walls, the bar itself, the displays etc..they limit the number of patrons etc, but not an issue when maxed out as all the ice gives quite a good thermal mass, so a very stable temperature.

I believe this was the first ever Ice Bar.

Not sure to be honest how much to give away...

28-04-2014, 09:12 PM
There was one here, stacked up clear block ice everywhere for bar etc., blue lights a couple of blowers and around -5.0' c . They rented out cooler jackets and served vodka.
You could say the idea melted away after a period of time. Women hated the place nipples stuck out like organ stops

Lord, that's cold. Colder than Scammell wheel nuts in fact.
Least you had somewhere to hang your coat. Probably too cold to take it off though...

install monkey
28-04-2014, 09:47 PM
peeing against the bar could be tricky!:D