Hidden in the pristine wilderness of Antarctica are several of the world’s most remote bars, where you can sip a cocktail in snowy seclusion.
The most glamorous is located at Whichaway Camp, one of only two luxury hotels on continent. There are a selection of heated sleeping pods, a communal dining and lounge area and a Snow Bar. Made from thousand-year-old ice, the bar a stunning spot to relax and sip a whiskey highball after a day spent spotting emperor penguins or ice climbing.
Another venue, Wolf’s Fang Camp, has just opened in the mountains of Queen Maud Land, which also features a Snow Bar and offers guests gourmet picnics with glasses of Laurent Perrier between the day’s activities (above).
According to Bloomberg it’s a logistical nightmare to stock the bars at both camps. Getting a can of Coca-Cola to Antarctica costs a whopping US$38.62. As for a bottle of French champers …
Together, the two properties can handle 300 guests over the November to January summer season and are already half-booked for 2022.
Australia’s Mawson research station – one of three permanent bases and research outposts in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) – also has an ice bar (pictured above).
It hasn’t changed much since 1957, when Morrie Fisher was famously photographed by Peter Clemence wearing a tuxedo with a penguin by his side (as you do).
Faraday Bar (above) is located at the Ukrainian Antarctic station, Vernadsky, on Island Galindez. It has just seven seats, where you can enjoy shots of house-distilled vodka, wine and beer for around $3 each. The pub’s specialty is a liqueur infused with herbs, a special recipe concocted by Ukrainian polar scientists.
The US base at McMurdo Sound is home to McMurdo Station Coffee House (below) and Gallagher’s Pub (above). McMurdo has up to 1000 personnel at a time, and is the nearest thing you can find to a town in Antarctica.
Many McMurdo residents gather at the Coffee House in the evenings to enjoy a variety of activities, including playing board games like Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit, enjoying a guitar performance, watching a movie or quietly conversing with friends over coffee.
However, both venues are in the process of being replaced by a new facility, designed by OZ Architecture. In February 2019, the National Science Board authorised the National Science Foundation (NSF) to begin a comprehensive rebuilding of McMurdo Station in Antarctica. It will consolidate the research station’s roughly 100 buildings into just six primary structures.
McMurdo also hosts Icestock, an annual Antarctic music festival on New Year’s Eve. A tradition that has taken place since 1989, the musical talents of the station come together to put on a grand show. Starting at 2:30pm and running past midnight, the main street of McMurdo overflowed with residents enjoying the live music and dance performances.
Home brewing banned at Australian Antarctic stations
For years, Australian Antarctic expeditioners have been making home-brewed beer in Antarctica, but the tradition was recently banned.
ABC News reports that Ian McLean became the “brew master” at several stations during expeditions in the 1990s and 2000s.
McLean said: “In the early days, it [home-brew] was there because it was easier to brew on station than it was to transport it down. 75% of the people when I was down there were drinkers of some description and just about everyone on station was getting involved with the home brewing.”
However, the division’s director, Kim Ellis, said a new AAD policy “recognises the need to create a comfortable and safe community atmosphere on research stations, with the ability to have a drink while engaging socially and to celebrate special occasions.”
“Antarctica is a unique environment — it’s incredibly cold and incredibly harsh — and very small mistakes can lead to very big consequences,” Ellis said.
“Here in Hobart you might have a drink and go and sit in the front yard and stare at the stars. If you do that in Antarctica — you’re drunk and you go and stare at the stars — we will find your body in the morning.”
The policy, which will come into effect this summer, sets out the volume of alcoholic beverages that expeditioners can take to Antarctica as: seven cans of full-strength beer per week; or 1.5 bottles of wine (table and sparkling) per week; or half a bottle of spirits per week.