The Holiday Inn is making the most of the cold with an ice house bar, dubbed "The Ice Box H21," on Little Detroit Lake.
"It's just a novel idea," said Holiday Inn Hotel Manager Doug Anselmin, adding that the bar has been pretty well-received both years it's been open.
The first year the Holiday Inn branched its bar out onto the frozen lake was last year during Polar Fest. Anselmin says they had a bonfire at the ice house during the fireworks display, and it just went so well they decided to do it again this year.
The ice house is a eight-foot by 12-foot wood-built ice house, attached to a 20-foot by 30-foot tent that has an insulated floor. Anselmin says they've got the bar along with seating for 40 available-and it's nice and warm with two floor heaters, a standing heater, and a fan to keep the air moving around.
"Even in this cold weather, it actually feels warms in there with just a tent. It absolutely amazes me," said Anselmin.
He says it's not a full-service bar, per se, but the bartenders have a good variety of many of the popularly-ordered beverages available. They've also got snacks and music. They even have an ATM.
Anselmin says one patron joked that, "You know it's a high-class fish house when you've got an ATM in there."
"We've been thinking about getting some fun games that people can play," added Anselmin, mentioning dice and beer pong. They've tossed around the idea of getting bean bag tournament going. "We're always looking for activities."
The location of the ice house, some 130 yards straight out from the Detroit Lakes Pavilion, has them pretty close to the Polar Fest festivities. Anselmin says last year they were right next to the Poles 'N Holes area. They're looking for other ways to get involved with the event as well.
"I've got another big tent that we're going to put out there and just have some ice fishing equipment in it," said Anselmin, adding that once that's all set up, people can rent the equipment and use the tent to try out the sport without worrying about investing too much into it.
He says once the weather warms up, probably this weekend, they will get that tent up and running.
As for the bar, it's been open a few weeks already. They put it up as soon as the ice was thick enough.
"I wanted the ice to get to 18, 20 inches before I put that building out there," said Anselmin. "You gotta think safety first."
It has to be off the ice by the first of March, so Anselmin in encouraging people to check it out while they can. He says it's got a big Holiday Inn trailer next to it, and if people take drive out on the access right off the main drag by the Pavillion, they won't miss it. It's right where the road on the lake forks.
"It's just one more thing to break up winter," he added.