I was thinking about my Antarctica trip recently, and how I managed to drink in 4 different places on the trip (OK I’m cheating as three of them were onboard the boat!!!). But I thought I’d give all you Antarctic bound travellers some tips on how you can drink in Antarctica, yes there is even a bar there, there is even a Happy Hour and drinking in Antarctica is part of the experience to the world’s southern most continent. Here’s my Top 6 places to drink in Antarctica (of which I drank in only 4 of them, as sadly 2 of them we didn’t visit)! One of my favourite Thirsty Thursdays to date.
1. Drinking in Antarctica: On Antarctic land
OK so strictly speaking this is illegal as you should take only water with you on your treks. But on our last landing in Antarctica, myself and 5 others all took a drink each onto the land to toast to our amazing trip. We chose either wine or beer and burst them open by some rocks near the Henry Arctowski Polish Station at Admiralty Bay on King George Island. It is probably the best place I have ever had a beer. Just there in the wilderness with penguins in behind. A must for drinking in Antarctica!
2. Drinking in Antarctica: Out on Deck!
OK so we were sailing down the Gerlache Strait and were welcomed by an amazing snowstorm. I was sitting in the indoor bar onboard our ship, the MS Expedition when my drinking buddy on the trip, Russell and I turned to each other and said almost at the same time “Let’s go outside for a beer”. It had to be done. We sat out on deck in the snowstorm – Russell in his shorts and flip flops/thongs! We were joined out on deck by Canadian Mike MacSween who even came barefoot! There was no need to keep the beers chilled as it was absolutely freezing! Great place for a beer. Try and get as many from the boat to join you, even if it’s just for 5 minutes or so.
3. Drinking in Antarctica: Onboard Bar at Happy Hour
For the budget travellers this is a great option. Each excursion to Antarctica will of course be different, but ours had a Happy Hour from 5 – 6pm every day in the Lounge Bar. This also coincided with the daily gathering of everyone on board in the lounge to discuss the day’s events and plan ahead for tomorrow. Our ship, the MS Expedition had two onboard bars and alcohol was available normally after 4pm on each day. There were 3 places to buy booze onboard, these were the two onboard bars and the restaurant:
– The Lounge Bar was open from around 4pm – 7pm and had a Happy Hour from 5pm – 6pm. Every day they had a different quirky featured cocktail (e.g. Gentoo Delight, Antarctic Sunrise, Snowstorm etc.)
– The Polar Bear Bar was open from around 8pm until closing time (whenever you wanted to stop drinking)
Alcohol was also available at dinner, served to you in the onboard restaurant, everything you ordered was added to your bill. There was no payment accepted in cash as far as I remember, they just added everything to your bill and you paid at the end of the trip. Be careful not to get too happy though, as even Happy Hour in Antarctica is more expensive than what you are used to!
To give you an idea I’ve included the drinks list from my trip, however this was 2010 so the price will no doubt have increased dramatically since then.
4. Drinking in Antarctica: Bring Your Own Alcohol
Again the cheapskate option and this is the one I used mostly – even the beer I took onto Antarctic land to drink was bought in Argentina and brought on board. There is no real limit on the amount of alcohol you bring onboard, but if you suffer from sea sickness, please note that the Drake Passage is the roughest stretch of water in the world, so you want to avoid the booze on that part of the trip!
I brought my own beer and wine and drank it in the cabin or sneaked it into the bar (hardly a big deal considering you’ve paid loads for this trip!!).
5. Drinking in Antarctica: The Bar at the Ukranian Vernadskiy Station
OK this could well be a regret in life, but on our trip we just didn’t make it to the bar or even to the actual Ukrainian Vernadskiy Station, which not only has a cool bar but even makes its own hot pepper Vodka (I’m not even kidding).
The Vernadskiy Research Station is the longest continually running one on the entire continent. It was the British that put the pub there when they owned it!!! We were caught up in a crazy snowstorm off the coast of Petermann Island, and seeing an Argentine Research Station from the boat was the closest we got to the set of Argentine Islands where the Vernadskiy Station sits.
6. Drinking in Antarctica: A Pint at the South Pole
This would be the ultimate planet earth beer, and we didn’t go that far, but it can be done. It’s costly to get to the South Pole and if you do make it and manage to acclimatise, you will be pleased to know you can have a celebratory tipple, or if you really want to be a cheapskate, bring your own! There was a beer shipped out there last year called Pole Axed!
If you have managed to do all six of these I salute you!! I was happy with the four I managed to get in on my amazing Antarctica adventure back in 2010.
A few videos of me including drinking in Antarctica:
Having a beer in Antarctica at Admiralty Bay:
Out on deck in Antarctica:
Arrival on Cuverville Island in Antarctica:
Final night having a beer on the Antarctica boat:
The ones I missed out on:
Someone Else’s trip to the Vernadskiy Bar in Antarctica:
Someone Else having a beer at the South Pole in Antarctica: