Ice bars, ice castles, MKE coat check, PEEPS show

At this time of year, bellying up to the bar for a cold one can be taken literally.

Glistening ice bars – ice sculptures with a practical function – have popped up in Milwaukee, Madison and Lake Geneva, for starters. They are open on weekends, sometimes more, and how long they stay in place depends on the weather.

A large bar and throne of ice are in front of Café Benelux, 346 N. Broadway, in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

The Wicked Hop, across the street, has an ice bar too. Look for the outdoor Wisco Inferno at 345 N. Broadway.

Café Hollander, at Hilldale shopping center in Madison, has an ice bar and outdoor area designed for staying warm while sipping cocktails.

Shots of liquor and wine at The Ice Box of The Ridge hotel, Lake Geneva, are served in glasses made out of ice. Perch yourself outdoors at the bar, on a throne of ice, in front of a campfire (with s’mores) or inside an illuminated igloo.

Within view, across Lake Como, are one acre of ice castles that contain tunnels, slides, fountains and many thousands of icicles with LED lights frozen inside. The Wisconsin location is one of six engineered in North America by Ice Castles LLC this winter. Admission is $17 on weekdays, $21 on weekends (less for children).

Grand Geneva Resort offers a private igloo experience for up to five people at a time. Time it right, and you’ll see starlight from inside the translucent dome.

You’ll need to spend at least $100 in food and drinks for a 90-minute reservation with blankets to keep you warm. Sip spiked hot chocolate and other hot toddys while noshing on pierogi, wings or cheese-sausage plates. Don’t be a no-show: A credit card is required to reserve the igloo.

Ready for a warm weather vacation during winter but tired of lugging a winter coat as you head south? When flying from Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee, now you can leave it at the airport until you return.

The new coat check service is the airport’s new Summerfest Markeplace, before security checkpoints. Brian Dranzik, airport director, thinks Mitchell Field is the nation’s only major airport offering the service.

Coat check cost is $2 per day, and a maximum of $10.

Racine Art Museum is planning its annual PEEPS show, and you are welcome to participate. The museum invites artists of all ages to create art with the squishy and brightly colored marshmallow candy.

Find the rules and entry form at Entries must be delivered to the museum between March 14 and 22. Prizes in adult, children and group categories will be awarded April 1. The art show opens April 2 and ends April 19.

This is RAM’s 11th annual International PEEPS Art Competition.

The annual American Girl Benefit Sale has a new location and dates: Alliant Energy Center, Madison, on July 11-12. Proceeds from the massive sale of American Girl merchandise – dolls, accessories, books and more – helps Madison Children’s Museum and American Girl’s Fund for Children.

A ticket lottery presale is March 18-22. General ticket sale begins April 1 and ends when all tickets are sold. Tickets are $10 for all time slots on July 11 and $5 on July 12.

Info about how to proceed is at

Madison Children’s Museum in downtown Madison hopes to expand exhibit space by 50 percent. The centerpiece would be a 75-foot climbing sculpture, which would be built in a former parking lot that is home to the museum’s Funkyard, an outdoor play area that is made of cable spools and pallets.

The museum is nationally recognized for its sustainable design and use of repurposed materials. The expansion is in early stages of development and fundraising.

Proceeds from a chili cook-off in Baileys Harbor next month will benefit the Climate Change Coalition of Door County. Up to 15 entrants will make chili and compete for bragging rights.

The March 7 event begins at 6 p.m. at Door County Brewing Company Taproom and Music Hall, on Highway 57. Tickets are $12.

All Fizzed Up, an event devoted to hard seltzers, is 7:30-10:30 p.m. March 28 at the Turner Hall ballroom in downtown Milwaukee. At least two dozen hard seltzer producers – domestic and international – will participate.

The $45.50 general admission ticket includes 10 drink sample tickets, each three ounces. DJ music and food will be available. For tickets:

Beer maker 3 Sheeps Brewing Company of Sheboygan has introduced Cloudless Hard Seltzer, 12-ounce cans that are sold as six- and 12-packs in three flavors: Tropical (passionfruit, dragonfruit and papaya), Clearly Citrus (pink grapefruit and tangerine) and Wild Berry (raspberry and blackberry).

Opening next month in Wauwatosa’s historic district is the Buckatabon (kinda rhymes with “chuck a robin”) Tavern and Supper Club. It is named after a pair of lakes northeast of Eagle River and is a Lowlands restaurant group project.

Décor and menu are inspired by multi-generation, family-run supper clubs in the Northwoods, and the from-scratch menu will include modern twists on traditional fare. Two examples: beet tartar (a vegan offering) and a curry pasty (a flavor deviation for meat pies of Cornish origin).

The site formerly was home to Café Bavaria. Follow the new restaurant’s development at

The Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 28, and people who want to avoid eating meat on Fridays have an unusual option: turtle meat. It is roasted four hours and served with mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw and fritters at Dorf Haus, a supper club with German roots in Roxbury (Dane County).

Dorf Haus is across the road from the tiny community’s Catholic church, and the turtle tradition began because parishioners wanted an option to fish on Fridays. The dinners got so popular that it is a Lenten special on both Wednesdays and Fridays, through April 10.