A Dubai ice bar built by Bayley Group, similar to the one that will appear in Toronto.

A Dubai ice bar built by Bayley Group, similar to the one that will appear in Toronto.

The thought of visiting a frozen lounge may seem like a totally absurd idea in the dead of winter, but don’t let that stop you from checking out Chill Ice House: the newest and coolest addition to Toronto’s King Street West.

After the lounge officially opens its doors at King and Bathurst this spring, the venue will be the largest permanent ice-house in Canada – acting as a tourist attraction by day and a bar by night.

According to designer Gresham Bayley, founder of the Bayley Group which designed Chill, the bar will maintain a constant temperature of -5 C.

The ice-lined walls are designed to insulate five times more than the average building, and even more than most industrial freezers.

“We use LED lighting, natural light, as well as recycled and reclaimed materials like insulation,” said Bayley. “We are designed around the need to be efficient.”

Bayley has already designed and built ice bars in places like Dubai, and even an ice castle for Disney that was in Times Square last year.

“There will always be something new to experience at Chill,” Bayley explained. “We can constantly be upgrading and changing our themes and attractions. From a haunted ice house at Halloween to the North Pole during Christmas. So many possibilities when working with ice!”

Remarkably, Chill Ice House plans to operate on a year-round basis; as opposed to a seasonal schedule that would enable closing during Toronto’s frigid winter months.

On a frosty Friday night in February, the last place you’d think Toronto bar-goers would want to be is shivering in an ice-packed lounge.

“I can’t even think of that right now,” said Alex Guthrie, 22, trudging through the snow on Bathurst Street. “You’d have to be nuts to pay money to hang out in a freezer in the winter.”

“Coupled with an airlock transition room warm capes to keep body heat from getting out, Chill Ice House will achieve what those in the ice-bar industry call “coasting”” Bayley tessls us, “It’s like your freezer at home uses less energy once full of frozen food, rather than when empty.”

Megan Germaine, 21, says she was excited when she heard the news about the ice-bar opening.

“It’s so interesting, I would totally go to that venue…it’s so original and would definitely be an adventure,” said Germaine. “Ask me if I’d go in July and I’d say yes.”

Either way, the lounge may be Toronto’s answer for cooling off during the sweltering nights of summer coming our way.

Chill Ice House aims to open just as the city begins to thaw for spring in April.

For more information, or to book opening night tickets, visit their website at http://www.chillicehouse.com