You’re all bundled up in your winter gear, heading to dinner. Once inside, you take
off your jacket, sit at your table, chat, order appetizers—and then you get back up again. Someone hands you a completely different coat, and you step back into sub-zero weather. Only, you’re still in the restaurant.
When Roger Newton first imagined his Canadiana-themed sports bar in Edmonton, it wasn’t with an ice room. And it wasn’t adjacent to his favourite team, the Edmonton Oilers. “He was a very passionate, patriotic Canadian, and a huge sports fanatic,” says Jim Martyn, the Canadian Brewhouse’s Vice President of Human Resources. “And we obviously now are big supporters of all local sports teams.” You can walk into any Brewhouse and find various games televised around the room, from hockey and soccer to curling and darts.
It’s the same at the new Canadian Icehouse in Edmonton’s expanding downtown Ice District, but with a twist. The signature tasting room, kept at -35°C, is made entirely of handcrafted ice and snow. Since spirits taste best when cold and ice dilutes flavour, the ice room provides an ideal tasting temperature—and a vodka connoisseur guides guests through the taste, type, and characteristics of each sample.
They currently stock 26 different vodkas— including chili pepper, maple, and walnut—with plans to rotate flavours throughout the year. One of Jim’s personal favourites is the E.T.51 Espresso, which is vodka filtered through espresso beans.
“I like it because they tell a fun little story about their vodka, where extraterrestrials landed in Canada,” says Jim. “And they left behind, as a reward for our courtesy, their signature secret recipe.”
Of course, bundling up before entering is important. Guests are equipped with a goose-down jacket and mittens to endure the average time of 10–12 minutes in the freezing room, which probably feels way longer than it sounds. “We had a guy go in there in shorts and a t-shirt because he refused to wear a jacket, because ‘he’s Canadian’,” says Jim with a laugh. If you can last, it’s certainly enough time to sip, learn, and take Instagrammable photos on an ice throne.
In more agreeable temperatures are a rapid shot hockey cage to test your slapshot velocity, new and classic menu features, multiple big-screen TVs, and the sibling Banquet Bar and its bowling alley. Plus once the weather starts warming up, they’ll complete their highly anticipated rooftop patio, the largest in Canada. Not only will it fit 500–700 people, it’ll also have batting cages and an unbeatable view of the Ice District.
Visit The Canadian Icehouse at 10332–103 St., 587-686-7221, thecanadianicehouse.com