When air conditioning isn’t enough to save you and your crew from the sweltering Los Angeles heat, chill out — literally — inside the Vodbox, a unique, subzero vodka tasting room located inside Nic’s Martini Lounge. The space is maintained at a consistent 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 Celcius) to keep the spirit at its crisp, refreshing best. That’s good for the vodka, of course, but kind of uncomfortable for hanging out, right? Nope. Before you can balk at the prospect of hypothermia, you’re handed a stylish faux fur coat and hat designed by Stanley Hudson to keep you cozy as you sip. While similar ice bars around the world dress their guests in bulky threads fit for Arctic explorers, this is Los Angeles, so the fashionable leopard print and snow-white coats match your outfits perfectly.
As you enter the chilly chamber, you quickly realize that this experience is all about indulgence. Inviting white-leather shelves hold hundreds of varieties of vodka, each identified by its personal nameplate and design. Some are quite saucy-looking (pun intended), while others are clearly just for show. All are ripe for a sip or so as vodkateur (yes, that’s a thing) Larry Nicola or one of his well-trained staff conducts a tasting for you and your friends.
Gather around a long, wooden table, a family heirloom dating back to 1945, and learn everything you ever wanted to know about vodka. You soon have a front row seat to a fascinating flight of vodkas from around the world, such as top-shelf Kauffman from Russia and Potocki from Poland, which wait from their ice-cold perch inside the special steel-and-glass enclosure. Make a note of your favorites and see if you have the same taste in vodka as your friends.
In a space like this, photos are essential, so whip out the cameras and strike your best pose. This experience lasts only 15 minutes, when you’ll have to shed your coats, hit the exit, and find yourselves once again on the baking sidewalk. The next bar you visit won’t know what hit it when you show off your newfound vodka knowledge.