British man completes 20,000 mile pub crawl in 20-year-old sports car

Ben Coombs from Plymouth has completed a 20,000 mile journey across 21 countries travelling from the most northerly to the most southerly pub in the world, though he admits his final destination was “a bit of a dive”.

Kermit in the Atacama Desert. Image: Pub2Pub

Coombs, 38, an automotive writer and adventurer, drove his 20-year-old TVR Chimaera, called Kermit, from Plymouth in Devon to southern Chile as part of an epic pub adventure.

After setting out from south west England, he travelled to Pyramiden, a former mining settlement on the Norwegian island of Svalbard. Today just two buildings are occupied – the garage and the hotel – and the whole area has a total population of four.

The world’s northernmost public bar in Pyramiden.

“Pyramiden is less than 700 miles from the North Pole and is the northernmost settlement on earth with a permanent civilian population, and has only one bar,” said Coombs. After buying a pint of Russian beer at the bar on 10 July 2017, Coombs officially began his journey.

To meet his criteria, the pub or bar had to be fully licensed and open to the public. While there are bars on Antartica, Coombs said that these were located on bases and are thus not fully accessible.

Hanging with Herbie in Phoenix, Arizona. Kermit was joined by a restored 1963 VW Beetle made to look like ‘Herbie’ from the Walt Disney films. Photo: Pub2Pub

Coombs then drove Kermit across Europe and down to Southhampton where it was shipped to New York in August 2017.

From New York he travelled across America to California before heading south to Mexico.

Travelling through South America, Coombs and Kermit reached their final destination, the world’s southernmost bar in Puerto Williams in Chile, on 12 February.

The final destination, however, wasn’t much of a climax.

“It’s a bit of a dive actually,” admitted Coombs.

“We’re talking plastic patio furniture inside, Chilean line dancing on the TV, and a menu which consists only of lager and cheap whisky.

“There are probably more appealing places to travel 20,000 miles to get to, but that’s not really the point. It’s the journey that matters, not the destination”.

After beginning his 2,000 mile trip back up South America before boarding a ship to England, Coombs announced that he is launching Pub2Pub Adventures to bring “our unique brand of quirky road trips to the masses”.

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