Doing an Arctic pub crawl in Longyearbyen
It’s not often I write about pub crawls or anything to do with alcohol (yeah right!) but whilst I was up in Longyearbyen in Svalbard (not too far from the North Pole), I managed to check out the top bars in the settlement and turned it into a pub crawl (and for those who are not sure what a ‘pub’ is – which means ‘public house’ in British English, it is basically a ‘bar’). Unfortunately one bar was closed for a refurb in the south of settlement (whichI had a lovely walk in the freezing conditions in the middle of winter in darkness) and the other place was a nightclub (which also wasn’t open) so I had three bars left on the list to do (and this was after doing the Svalbard Brewery tour!).
On Longyearbyen main strip where all the shops, restaurants can be found there are three bars. Starting at the southern end (furthest away from the water), the first bar is the Svalbar (get it?). Here I enjoyed the local brew from the Svalbard brewery (costing 89NOK – €9.20 – and a reminder that beer in Svalbard is cheaper than on mainland Norway), whilst having a hearty meal. On the menu I tried the moose and deer meat burger (I know it sounds bad but for some reason I still tried this), it was yummy and a good meal to go with the beer. Staff here gave great service, spoke English (like everyone else around here as the settlement is geared up for tourism). I had a total of two pints each (0.56 litres in each) before moving on.
The next bar was probably my favourite as it was a great place to hang out, make new friends and get to know the staff. The Karlsberger Pub is located in a building with other shops via a door. There are no windows looking in or out into the bar (which is great in the summer months if visitors are getting cheesed off with that twenty-four hour sunshine and need a bit of darkness in their lives), but inside the first thing I noticed was all that whiskey and other bottles of booze from the mainland and around the world. Now if I was an alcoholic I be here forever choosing what to drink. Sitting at the bar for quite a few hours (of course enjoying more of the local beers) I then decided to check out some of the spirits by the barmaids. Writing this now, I can’t remember what I had (as I was on the verge of total drunkenness) but I drank them and came out of the bar very merry.
Managing to have enough energy to stagger to the northern end of the road to the Radisson Blu hotel where the Barentz Gastropub is located which claims to be the northernmost pub in the world. Well….. It technically isn’t as there are two other bars further north from Longyearbyen in Svalbard on two other settlements. But I don’t care, I also loved this bar. I didn’t just visit this place once but a few times as I also sat here blogging away whilst eating their nice thin crust pizzas. Nice decor, staff are very welcoming and the beer, well, I love the beer from the local brewery. It is everywhere here.
Now at the end of the night, I can’t tell you how many I had but I know I went back to my apartment very merry in the middle of the night (well, it is always night there in January!) and I loved getting to know the locals and speaking to other tourists. The best thing is when waking up the next morning (surprisingly without the hangover!) it was still dark and my eyes loved it.
Have you been drinking in Longyearbyen, Svalbard before? What’s your favourite bar or beer? Any funny stories to tell? I would love to hear.