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This Arctic Norwegian Bar Is Looking for a New Owner (Polar Bears Included)


The last thing most of us are thinking about right now is throwing all caution, job security, and financial investments to the wind and moving halfway around the world. But, what if doing so meant you could live and work in one of the most pristine, beautiful, and remote places on the planet? If that sounds appealing, there’s a northern Norwegian bar looking for a new owner.

Svalbar is one of the world’s northernmost gastropubs, and, right now, it’s on the auction block to the highest bidder. To wannabe pub owners, the official website is touting that, “Your dream of owning your own bar just got a lot cooler.” This is, of course, a clever play on words because Svalbar is located in the quaint town of Longyearbyen on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard (note the “d”), high in the Arctic North. By most coordinates, it’s roughly halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. If that sounds insanely remote, that’s because it is.

But, the town’s geography makes it a massive draw for nature cruises and climate tourism. The surrounding archipelago is a place of stunning natural beauty. The landscape is idyllic for cold-weather-loving travelers in search of Arctic nature walks, wildlife watching, sea kayaking, glacier hikes, and getting far, far away from just about everything. What’s more: It’s among the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights and spot polar bears in the wild.

All of this means a near-constant stream of tourism dollars for the town and the pub’s new owners. More than 75,000 people visited the region in 2019. Svalbar offers 18 tables with room for 90 customers and a prime corner lot location in the heart of Longyearbyen, within walking distance of several hotels. The owners boast that it’s a hotspot among locals as well. Given its location in a town of just 3,000, the bar is surprisingly modern, bordering on trendy. The menu is an eclectic mix of burgers, Italian pizzas, and Americanized cuisine. Plus, tourism to the region is growing, and all those visitors need to eat somewhere.

If you’ve read this far, maybe life and business (and polar bears) in the Arctic Circle are for you. The best part for foreigners is that, although the region is part of the Kingdom of Norway, it’s governed by the Svalbard Treaty. That means there are no visa restrictions or additional requirements for foreigners to live and work there. Check out the official Buy Svalbar website for full details.

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Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
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