Originally founded in 1947 by the British as an Antarctic expeditionary base, Vernadsky Research Base was bought by the Ukraine in 1996 for the price of one British pound, since the cost to dismantle the base would have been too great.
The coin Verdansky was purchased with still resides in the site’s most interesting location — the Vernadsky Station Lounge, one of the southernmost bars in the world.
During the station’s British ownership, some of the carpenters repurposed a shipment of wood, meant to provide the station with a new pier, and built the small bar in a close approximation of a traditional English pub. The interior contains rustic wooden beams and aging pictures of famous Antarctica explorers above the seats.
When the station was taken over by the Ukraine, the bar received a bit of a makeover reflecting the newly Russian patrons, adding Cyrillic flags and other tchotchkes. In addition to the cosmetic changes, the bar now also offers vodka, distilled on site, for the bargain price of three dollars. If this is too much, the drink is free to any woman willing to donate her underwear to be displayed in the bar.
Should you crave watching wild penguins while sipping bathtub vodka, the bar at the Vernadsky Base is open to any intrepid explorers willing to make the trek to the bottom of the world.
Know Before You Go
There is also a bar at Scott base, for a total of three bars at McMurdo Station.