In Dante's "Inferno," the worst sinners are not consumed by flames, but encased in ice. Perhaps this explains the gradual but relentless -- think glacial -- growth in ice bars these days. Not that we're judging.
In fact, glorifying ice while living in an icebox is rather endearing. Here's where you can sidle up to a bar made of frozen water, and even drink from glasses made of ice:
- Back for a sixth year, the Ice Chamber at Le Meridien Chambers, 901 Hennepin Av. in Minneapolis, continues to attract a crowd to what's billed as the "first outdoor urban ice bar in the United States." With a fire pit and aurora borealis vibe, it's a talker. Scheduled to open Thursday.
- In Duluth, Little Angie's Cantina & Grill will feature its first ice bar this winter, giving visitors to the Bentleyville light display in Canal Park a further reason to delay warming up.
- Back for a second year is Blu Ice Bar and Lounge at the Grand Superior Lodge in Two Harbors, Minn., now with ice chandeliers, a 12-foot-tall Split Rock Lighthouse with a working beacon carved from ice, and North Shore sushi. The grand opening is Dec. 21, then it's open Fridays and Saturdays as long as frigid conditions last.
- Further up the shore will be Moguls Ice Bar, a ski-in, ski-out saloon at the Caribou Highlands Lodge on Lutsen Mountain. It's on tap to be open Fridays and Saturdays starting Dec. 23.
- Come February, Rochester joins the scene in its annual SocialIce festival. Its Minnesota's Ice Bar, billed as the state's biggest, will be open evenings at the Peace Plaza downtown Feb. 9-11.
- Finally, you can also have your very own ice bar for your winter parties. Several companies do such work, including Ice Occasions in Ellsworth, Wis., owned by Chris Swarbrick, a perennial winner of ice-carving contests, and the chain saw behind several of the bars listed above.