The City of Fountains is frozen over atop The Fontaine Hotel, transformed into an aurora borealis-inspired vision of Scandinavian Iceland for a limited run pop-up — Nine Zero One Igloo Bar.
“This project has been over a year in the making,” explained Jenna Phillips, the hotel’s associate director of sales and marketing, quick to add the experience isn’t like other pop-ups found across the metro.
“This is not a holiday pop-up,” she told Startland News in preview of the experience, which remain frosty through March 14 — an extension of its original Feb. 15 melt date, extended in response to high demand.
“One of the most important aspects was to not blend the holiday season in with this winter experience,” Phillips said of the bar which transforms the hotel’s seventh floor lounge into an ice cave and sprinkles four private, igloo-inspired pods across its terrace.
“Every night when I am interacting with guests or overhear them talking about how much they like the vibe here or the decor of the igloos or whatever it may be, I get a little giddy inside.”
Nine Zero One features a local ingredient-heavy menu of food prepared by Chef Michael Olson and such drinks as “Ruby Hot Chocolate” and “The Banana Stand” — made using local spirits and brought to life by Adam Chase, local mixologist.
“[Olson] concepted the menu completely based off the vision of the bar and put a Scandinavian twist on everything to create unique, elevated tapas,” Phillips said, teasing the bar’s “boccalo tots” — a fan-favorite among its sell out crowds.
“We wanted a mix of hot and cold cocktails that you can’t find anywhere else in the city! Each drink has a custom glassware feature and they all have a unique garnish to add that final touch.”
“Ruby Hot Chocolate” is vodka-based, pink in color, and can be served non-alcoholic, and served with a toasted marshmallow, Phillips said. “The Banana Stand” blends butterscotch and banana infused bourbon with black walnut bitters.
The final vision for Nine Zero One was pulled together with help from Josh Dampf Events, Phillips said.
“He has an unparalleled vision and a way of taking what I want and finding the exact item that makes it perfect,” she said, noting Nine Zero One was born out of a trial run pop-up experience — Last Fridays — this past summer.
“[Nine Zero One] was a theme I couldn’t let go of and I am thankful to have a hotel team and owners that agreed to buy into the idea,” Phillips said.
Click here to make a reservation at Nine Zero One.
More than a mechanism for creatively getting Kansas Citians out of the house — in a safe and social distant way thanks to the natural isolation of the bar’s igloos — Nine Zero One is a survival tactic for The Fontaine, Phillips admitted.
“Things at the hotel have been wild, to say the least. A lot of industries have undoubtedly been impacted by the pandemic — but our industry, relying on travel, still continues to be impacted negatively and will for a while,” she said candidly and in eager anticipation of industry recovery in 2021.
“There were times during the height of the pandemic that it felt like a reality show — going from a booming hotel operation to suddenly having a nearly empty hotel and our remaining staff were working every job on property,” Phillips said.
“This pop up is absolutely instrumental in helping make up for lost business. We are in a time where you have to be creative and take the road less travelled in order to succeed and this bar concept is a prime example of this.”