Thunder Bay

Lake of the Woods outfitter serves food, drink in Igloo Bar

A Minnesota based outfitter is giving new twist to the term 'have a cold one.' Nick Painovich operates the Igloo Bar, on the frozen expanse of Lake of the Woods.

Patrons can ice fish through a hole in the floor, while enjoying a cocktail at the Igloo Bar

The Igloo Bar, on the Minnesota side of Lake of the woods, serves both Canadian and U.S. based anglers, snowmobilers. (

A Minnesota-based outfitter is giving a new twist to the term 'having a cold one.'

Nick Painovich operates the Igloo Bar, a winter watering hole planted directly on top of the frozen expanse of Lake of the Woods, about 15 kilometres south of the Canadian border.

The bar is situated on Zippel Bay, and is accessed from land by a large ice road. The structure is about 7 metres wide by 18 metres long and is dragged out on the ice in two sections, on skids, said Painovich.

"We designed it in the shape of an igloo," Painovich said. "It's got a steel floor but it's shaped like an igloo. It has sprayed foam for good insulation and to keep it a little on the light side."

The Igloo Bar has tables around the interior and patrons can ice fish while eating and drinking. (

The interior is 100 square metres and features tables set up around the perimeter and a stand up bar through the middle. 

It offers beverages, food, satellite tv and heated outhouses to patrons who travel there from both sides of the border.

Bar offers indoor ice fishing

Painovich said although it's set up as a full cocktail bar, you can fish through holes in the floor of the Igloo Bar, which occasionally makes for some exciting moments.

"The place rocks pretty good," when a fish gets caught in the bar, said Painovich. "It's worse when the rattle wheel takes off and they miss a fish. They probably have to buy everyone a round or two because of it."

Painovich said the bar is approved by the Minnesota health department, although there were numerous hoops and permits to get it open.

He said the Igloo Bar is profitable, although it cost about $100 thousand U.S. to build.

It's well used by ice fisherman, as well as by snowmobilers and even cross-country skiers, he said. It's proven to be a draw on both sides of the border.

"People come from Canada by ski and snowmobile on groomed trail," Painovich said. "So it's a popular spot on weekends. We have a lot of friends in Canada."

The Igloo Bar is open 6 days a week, from noon to 10 p.m.