Fans attending the sold-out Challenge Cup Final Clash between the Stena Line Belfast Giants and the Cardiff Devils tonight will be amongst the first to experience The SSE Arena’s hotly anticipated new bar.
Named OFF ICE, the new bar is part of a major investment totalling almost £1million, which will transform the hospitality infrastructure and experience in Northern Ireland’s premier entertainment venue. The new ground floor venue, located in the foyer of The SSE Arena, Belfast, just a few metres from the Belfast Giants’ home ice, has been completely reimagined from a back of house office into a contemporary new bar.
OFF ICE is supported by its proud partner Pepsi Max. Building on the Pepsi Max sponsorship of the Belfast Giants, a range of exciting collaborations and installations between Pepsi Max and the Giants are planned in the coming months.
Hockey fans attending tonight’s game will be the first to experience the new bar, which has secured special dispensation to open for the Premier Sports Elite Ice Hockey League Challenge Cup Final. The bar will officially open to the public in April 2022 (subject to licence).
The flexible space has been designed to change with the needs of the audience, in line with the varied programme of events hosted by the Arena. On Belfast Giants home game nights, the bar will have a distinctive sports-bar feel, with screens showing ice hockey highlights and live footage from the night’s game. For comedy events and concerts, the vibe will change up to suit the crowd, with a stage in the corner of the new bar perfect for pre and post show performances and appearances.
With high ceilings, exposed brick and industrial style features, a large horseshoe shaped bar at the centre of the venue will facilitate festival-style bar service to help alleviate queues at peak periods. Meanwhile a comfortable seating area outside the bar will provide additional space for pre and post event drinks.
Commenting ahead of the soft opening, Claire Cosgrave, head of experience at The SSE Arena said: “Emerging from the pandemic, we have paid close attention to changing consumer trends and needs. Our new bar is a stylish, contemporary space that will greatly enhance our customer experience, with the ability to flex and change how the space is used to suit our diverse audiences.”
Dermot McGinn, group head of food and beverage, The Odyssey Trust said: “Flexibility is at the heart of the design of our new bar. Working in partnership with our architects, Whittaker and Watt and builders, Martin Hamilton, we have created a stylish space that is also functional for high volume service. OFF ICE is the first in a range of enhancements we are undertaking to continue to improve our food and beverage offering in The SSE Arena and across the Odyssey complex.”
Doors to The SSE Arena, Belfast will open at an earlier time of 5pm tonight, with a special live pre-game show from the Belfast Giants’ official podcast, A View from The Bridge in OFF ICE at 6pm. Face-off for the live Premier Sports televised Challenge Cup Final is at 7pm sharp. Please note: OFF ICE is a licensed venue, so entrance is strictly for over 18s only.