One way I like to break the ice with people is to really look at the person for a moment, not stare, and find something I genuinely like about them. I then smile warmly and compliment them. First of all, it's a boost to their self-esteem, because most of us really don't get complimented all that much, and those that do...a little more never hurts anyone. Secondly, you have opened up the door in a positive way, and only a severe douche-dongle is going to be rude to you after you compliment them.
BUT, I should say that I only compliment someone if it's for real. Don't lie. It's not kind if you lie to someone, that's cruel.