Phnom Penh is home to an abundance of bars, ranging from the cheap and cheerful to the chic and boutique, and everything in between. Stick with us, and we’ll show you the best options around.
Wherever you drink, on of the country’s favourite beer, Angkor, will be on offer. Brewed with the soft spring water from the hills of Sihanoukville coupled with the finest ingredients sourced from around the world, this quality lager has earned the brand numerous Gold Awards from Monde Selection, an international quality institute, making it a rich source of national pride. The same company also produces global cola brand Pepsi and local drinking water brand Angkor Puro, vital in combating the effects of those scorching hot days in tropical Cambodia.
Another highly popular Khmer brew is Cambodia Beer, made in a state-of-the-art facility on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Cambodia is a refreshing and easy to drink lager with a rich, fruity head giving way to a full-bodied and creamy flavour.
The Riverside area (Sisowath Quay and the adjoining streets) boasts many upmarket establishments, although several cut-price places can still be found amongst them. The Rising Sun is a popular choice along St.178 – a cosy little pub with cheap drinks and serving great food also. This homely place has been a Phnom Penh institute for over a decade thanks not only to a menu packed with British comfort food, but also a bar which is busy in the evenings with mostly Australian and English expats enjoying a drink and plenty of banter. The staff are great too!
A ride south across will find you at the up-and-coming neighbourhood surrounding the Russian Market, known locally as Toul Tom Poung. Here, try Seabird’s Place (St.410), run by one of the founders of local craft beer label Riel Brewery, serving beers, cocktails, wine, spirits, smoothies and milkshakes. The popular IPA and Coconut Brown Ale from Riel are on tap, as well a rotating seasonal brew.
Do you dream of sipping cocktails in the sumptuous surroundings but don’t have the wallet to match? Don’t worry! The renowned happy hour at the exclusive Elephant Bar of the upscale Raffles Hotel Le Royal places it on the affordable list, with special deals between 4pm and 9pm daily.
The sundown tradition is popular across the capital, with many other venues boasting discounts on cocktails and beers. Look out for the happy hour symbol in our directory listings.
French-run Dodo Rhum House (St.130) is a fairly priced option, serving a selection of flavoured rums, such as passion fruit, chocolate and prune, and its signature Ti punch.
Duplex Belgian Tavern (St.278) is the ideal place to hang out, nurse a beverage or two, and enjoy the atmospheric bustle of this charming city. Prices are reasonable and the selection of Belgian beers – 30 different brands in total – is impressive.
If German beer is your thing, then head to Hops Brewery & Craft Beer Garden (St.228), a stylish microbrewery with a beer garden & grill, a restaurant, an art lounge and a sports bar with high-end billiard tables and electronic darts. The brewing ingredients are 100% natural, imported from Germany, and their beer is produced following the highest German brewing standards.
Lovers of craft beer should also seek out The Box Office, behind the royal palace on St.244, which offers no less than six locally-made brews on tap. It’s a popular expat hang-out running plenty of events to keep all entertained. Along with live music from local bands, there’s a popular quiz night every Wednesday as well as occasional comedy nights.
KWest (Sisowath Quay) boasts a lively bar scene during the evenings with its ideal Riverside location adding to its popularity. The expert bar team is renowned for mixing delicious cocktails and there’s a varied selection of wines.
To experience the higher end of ale drinking, the state-of-the-art Himawari Microbrewery (Sisowath Quay) is the first and only microbrewery launched inside a hotel in Cambodia. The beers start at $7 for a pint, with master brewer Neo Say Wee ensuring his four different labels will quench the thirst of every customer.
For another sublime beer experience, Kingdom Breweries (National Road 5) has a $8 tour of their brewery, ending at the Taproom, where you’ll be treated to unlimited samples of their range of beers, all the while enjoying a pleasant river view. Make sure to taste their new Indochine White and Indochine IPA.
The last stop in our circuit of midrange options brings us back to the Toul Tom Poung area for a glass of ice-cold craft beer at Alchemy GastroPub (St.123). This stylish but chilled out venue offers dozens of excellent local and regional craft beer labels, best savoured together with their delicious fusion tapas and other dishes.
Well-established wine bars have been joined by a crowd of new operators all clamouring to cater for lovers of the vine, with glasses starting at around $3.50 and going up to and above $20.
Bouchon (St.174) set in a century-old house, boasts a healthy selection of French wines, mostly from Bordeaux, to accompany a menu with a flair for French cuisine.
Il Forno (St.302) is now in the capital after amassing great success in Siem Reap. This upscale Italian restaurant is stirring things up in the city’s culinary scene with amazing wood-fired pizzas and a chic wine lounge upstairs.
Phnom Penh has finally got its own Hard Rock Cafe (at Exchange Square on St.106). Make the most of the buy one, get one free Happy Hour deal on their cocktails including mojito, Long island ice tea, classic margarita, Electric blues & Fruitapalooza, as well as draft beer, house wine and spirits from 4-7pm daily.
Botanico (St.29) is a wine and beer garden restaurant/bar serving the much-loved “Cerevisia CRAFT beer”, which they brew themselves locally. Set within the leafy green garden oasis, it’s the perfect hideway by day, and fantastic social spot by night. They host regular events too!
Some of the best options to enjoy a cocktail include Le Moon on the rooftop of the Amanjaya Pancam Hotel (Sisowath Quay at St.154), which was the first open terrace facing life on Phnom Penh’s Riverside.
The Riverside is also home to several refined drinking spots, including the stylish Café Metro (Sisowath Quay) famed for its espresso martinis and chic ambience.
In a majestic colonial building with strong elements of Chinese design is Chinese House (Sisowath Quay), a restaurant & bar that offers a refined ambiance with classy cocktails such as the China White, the Red Sun, and the Apple Crumble.
Rokku (Sisowath Quay), a multistory dining and entertainment lounge, is the home of signature sake cocktails created by their in-house mixologist, including the Yes Mam, named after Rokku co-owner and Cambodian-American singer Laura Mam.
Shenanigans (St.13) gives the weary traveller a taste of home from so very far away, welcoming all with a green sill and stone patio. Watch the big sporting events on the huge screens with the other punters while sampling all the classic drinks from Jack Daniels to the local brews.
Chaplins (St.108), is a classy, expertly renovated bar. Special offers run daily where you can get discounts on drinks such as cocktails and wines. The venue is ideally located close to the riverside area on a popular strip.
Valentino’s is the star of Street 174, a centrally located strip that has grown in to one of the city’s hottest night spots. Along with Valentino’s you’ll find a board game cafe, two gay bars, a sports bar, and a karaoke lounge, so there’s no need to go anywhere else really! Valentino’s itself is now an even bigger and more elegant venue following its recent renovation, and now offers three different areas for guests. The club, which is free of entry, is where you can enjoy the hottest tracks spun by international DJs until the small hours. The new Riverhouse Bistro housed within the premises is a great option for a more chilled out drink.
Finally let’s take it right upscale with a visit to the simply magnificent Sora, found at Rosewood within Vattanac Tower. Unwind high above the city and take in spectacular views at one of the best sky bars Phnom Penh has to offer, perched on a cantilevered terrace. The vibrant venue showcases an effortlessly stylish whisky bar, including a handful of real rarities. The bartenders are true craftspeople, adept at everything from advising on beers and matching wines to preparing specially curated cocktails.