Antarctica Dispatch

Journal of my Antarctic experience working to support the United States Antarctic Program.

Southern Exposure

McMurdo has three 'bars' down here - 'Gallagers', 'Southern Exposure', and the 'Coffee House'. There's been much written about the history of these places so I won't go too much in depth. Just do a search on these words and you'll get plenty of info, check out this link. The administrative assistant down here, Tom, writes about it on his blog - bigblueglobe.

For this winter only one bar was kept open - 'Southern Exposure' (a.k.a. 'Southern's), which is the 'Smoking Bar', at least for now. Back when McMurdo was run by the Navy it was apparently called the 'Chief's Club', and it's got quite a bit of character with people's names on one of the main beams.

One of the former workers down here wrote a piece for the May issue of Men's Journal "Do Shots at the Bottom of the World" which was part of an article called "60 Real Adventures". Here's the print:

Established 52 years ago as part of something the navy called Operation Deep Freeze, McMurdo Station and its 1500 seasonal residents needs a great bar like few other places on earth. Actually it has three, but Southern Exposure is by far the best, a dilapidated yet funky wood-beamed drinking haven. Distinguished climatologists chain-smoke alongside hard-drinking lesbian heavy-equipment operators, while adventurous English lit grads, hired to work as galley dishwashers curse the decision that brought them here. There's nothing on tap, the pool table's warped, and most of the chairs, like half the hearts, are broken. But on Saturday nights the place jumps like a West Texas honky-tonk. The only difference being that outside there's nothing but the Ross Sea, a smokeing volcano called Mount Erebus and certain death by hypothermia. It's impossible to drink yourself into oblivion here; you can only drink your way out.
There's even a drink mentioned 'The Nacreous Cloud' which none of us heard of. Still it's nice to be noticed.


At Monday, July 09, 2007 3:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments about 'Southern Exposure' bring back a lot of memories. For 3 summer seasons beginning in Oct 73, I bartended at The Chief's Club. At that time it was similar to two T-5s side by side. I never did know what type building it was. I understand that that building subsequently burned down.

BTW, I ran the Electronics Maintenance shop which was located on the first deck of the Admin bldg, bldg 165.

George A. Parker
ETCS USN (Retired)

At Friday, August 17, 2007 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...


Are workers in Antarctica upset that the IRS won't allow you guys to claim the same tax break available to people working overseas?

I am a journalist working on a story about this issue for BusinessWeek.

Any help would be appreciated.


Jonathan Berr
freelance journalist

At Friday, August 17, 2007 11:51:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Oh yeah, you can reach me via email at


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