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Rochester’s SocialICE 2017

Warm temperatures this weekend could melt the ice bars, but nothing can dampen the winter spirit (and delicious cocktails)


Photo courtesy of SocialICE - Rochester Downtown Alliance

I’m having conflicted feelings about the warm-up this weekend—on one hand, I can take a walk without looking like a marshmallow. On the other hand, it means my neighborhood ice rink will be a pile of slush.


One quality of being Minnesotan is learning to stand up to Mother Nature’s icy wrath. (Vehicles won’t even be allowed onto Leech Lake at the International Eelpout Festival in Walker this year!) But thankfully, even with highs in the mid-50s, the 9th annual SocialICE in Rochester (Feb. 16-18) will continue as scheduled.

At SocialICE, seven local bars and restaurants create original cocktails and drinks to go with their chosen theme, and serve them behind a 12-foot bar of ice. Plus, life-size ice sculptures are scattered throughout Peace Plaza, and DJs will perform each night behind a block of ice. It’s certainly an event worth traveling to from the Twin Cities, and is a great time to explore Rochester’s vibrant community (it is the state’s third largest city, after all).

Now, the question is: will the ice bars survive the 50-degree temperatures? With similar weather last year, the event committee is quite confident that everything will hold up A-OK. Thankfully, the bars are located in a shaded area, and they will be built thicker and larger, with staff working to maximize the life of the ice.

But with being able to whip out the notorious sweatshirts and shorts combo, most of us probably won’t mind a few puddles, especially when entertaining themed cocktails are involved.

Kathy’s Pub will transform into Jurassic Pub, serving a “Pterodactyl Tea,” which will include a dry ice chip. Martini’s at the Kahler Grand is featuring an 8-bit video games theme and have created a Princess Peach Cobbler with hot apple cider, peach, and cinnamon schnapps, and will also offering Pac-Man Jello shots. And, what sounds like my favorite, Dooley’s will have a Beauty and the Beast theme, serving the Enchanted Chocolate Rose with hot chocolate, tequila rose strawberry cream liqueur, Bailey’s, Smirnoff vanilla, and topped with whipped cream. To view a full list of the participating restaurants, visit the SocialICE website.

Feb. 16-18 (Thurs. 5-9 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 4-10 p.m.)
Peace Plaza, First. Ave. SW & First St. SW
Admission is free, with food and drink available for purchase

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