Experience the Igloo Bar on the Ice on Lake of the Woods

The Igloo Bar is a destination to add to your ice fishing itinerary. Winter is a happy and busy time up at Lake of the Woods.  The area is buzzing with activity.  In these parts, winter is celebrated and welcomed.  Ice fishing is an absolute culture in Northern Minnesota.  Anglers The Igloo Barfrom all ability levels and all walks of life come up to partake in some of the best ice fishing in the world at Lake of the Woods.

With that being said, some like to go hardcore fishing and others fish but also enjoy some of the other fun experiences the Lake of the Woods area  has to offer.  For instance, there are a variety of resorts in the area all with their own culture.  Many have bars and restaurants and all have their specialties.

Inside the Igloo Bar

Inside the Igloo Bar

One bar, in particular, has earned quite a reputation.  You see, this bar looks like an igloo.  It is located not on mainland but out on frozen Lake of the Woods.  It is loaded with big screen TV’s, electric lights, running water, a bar, limited hot food menu, and heated porta-potties that look like little igloos. It’s unlike anything else on the lake. This year the bar is located in its usual position out on the lake on Zippel Bay Reef.

Decked out with satellite TV, propane heat, running hot water and hoodie-clad bartenders, the arc-roofed bar also serves soup, sandwiches and pizza. The bottled beer, shots and mixed drinks flow for six nights a week until the ice softens in late March. That’s when tractors haul it back to shore in two pieces.

Couples have been married there and snowmobilers drive miles to use the heated outhouses. And for a few dollars an hour, you can lift up a section of the tavern’s insulated floor and jig for walleyes from your bar stool.

Inside the Igloo Bar

Inside the Igloo Bar

“If you are looking for something different, this is different.”  “It gets a little crazy in here when someone catches a big one,” offered Nick Painovich, owner of the Igloo. He usually situates the Igloo miles out from shore above a walleye hot spot in the Zippel Bay fish house village.

The Igloo is licensed as a mobile food court, fish house and caterer, the Igloo requires electricity (supplied by a gas generator) to heat food and pressurize hot and cold water. All waste water gets hauled to shore in holding tanks and poured into the resort’s own disposal system.  Each morning and evening workers haul out huge generators on wheels that send power to the big Igloo and also the heated lavatories

Igloo Bar Porta-Potties

Igloo Bar Heated Porta-Potties

The owners had to jump many hoops with the MN DNR because this was never done before. It has passed the tests and has proven to be a “hot spot” for anglers to frequent during their trip to Lake of the Woods. There is an ice road well marked, plowed and maintained coming from Zippel Bay Resort if you are coming via truck or car.  If by snowmobile, a “spur” of the trail goes right to the bar from the Zippel Bay State Park trail as well as the trail on the lake.

It is quite the entrepreneur who is able to organize and operate a business like this. It takes on greater than normal financial risks and staffing to run the Igloo – just ask Nick and Deanna. However, when the Igloo did not go out on the ice this past year, countless numbers of anglers and just visitors to the area were asking about the edifice regularly because they missed the experience of just being in that building. What a great idea! What a great addition to the many great facilities around Lake of the Woods.

For more information on ice fishing contact our website at: www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com/ice-fishing

And for lodging see: www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com/lodging


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