Phnom Penh has some great bars and it’s definitely worth at least one big night on the town when staying here. Many popular bars are clustered along the riverfront, but one or two of the best are tucked away in the back streets. Many of the wooden guest- house platforms built over Boeng Kak double as great sunset bars with cheap drinks and offer much more atmosphere than other guesthouse bars around town. Most bars are open until around midnight.
Keep an eye out for happy hours around town as these include two-for-the-price-of one offers and the like that can save quite a bit of cash. Standard drink prices are US$1 to US$2 for a can of beer and US$1 to US$3 for spirits.
Add: Hotel Le Royal, Corner Monivong Blvd & Ph 92
This joint has one of the best-known happy hours in town, from 4pm to 8pm. Drinks are two-for-one, including cocktails like Singapore Slings.
Foreign Correspondents’ Club
Tel: 724014 – Add: 363 Sliowath Quay – Breakfast-late
This is a popular stop for tourists and expats alike thanks to big views and bigger breezes. Both here and the FCC’s restaurant have a touch of colonial about the ambience, but the drinks list is contemporary. Happy hour is from 5pm to 7pm. There are plenty of other top spots on or around the riverfront.
Add: 359 Sisowath Quay – Breakfast-late
With a prime location opposite this bar was always destined for big things and has now expanded, giving it a huge section of riverfront balcony. Better still club has just opened as we speak, with it serious sounds proofed environment
Riverhouse Restaurant & Lounge
Tel: 212 302 – Add: Corner Ph 110 & Sisowath Quay – Lunch-late
Located above its noted restaurant, this lavishly decorated lounge bar is popular early evening drinks overlooking the river and late night drinks and a dance on weekend when they unleash the DJs.
Tel: 012289905 – Add: 217 Ph136
This is minimalist heaven – a trendy little Kali bar all finished in whites and limes. A new bar in town, it should do well as the concept is original for Phnom Penh, plus it is the most gay-friendly bar today.
Add: 343 Sisowath Quay
One of the original riverfront pubs, it draws lively crowd thanks to good tunes, cheap bear, tasty bar meals and free pool. The only drawback are the hordes of “soo-sine, Bang-Koh Poh, you wan buy flower, one doll-aah’ kids passing by all night. Enter the spirit (or consume the spirit) and it’s all good fun.
Tel: 211715 – Add: corner Ph 51 174 – Open 24hr
A couple of blocks down from the Heart, this huge bar has a loyal crowd during the day and draws an army of working girls and dedicated drinkers by night. Check out Friday’s ‘Joker Draw’ in which some lucky soul might walk away with thousands of dollars in cash. Now boasting two bars, this place never closes.
Add: 175 Ph 51 – Open: Thu-Tue
Much further south on Ph 51 and a world away from the madness around the Heart is the oasis that is Elsewhere. Set in a beautiful French colonial-era villa with lavish gardens, this is the perfect spot to while away a warm evening. Low tables, lower cushions and a free plunge pool make this a top spot for the late afternoon happy hour.
Add: 234 Ph 63
This friendly bar-cafe is one of the most welcoming in Phnom Penh. Warm service, cool decor and a good soundtrack make it worth the journey south. Check out the Brit-style pub quiz every Monday or the regular comedy or cabaret nights. It may have relocated by the time you read this…