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, the country’s favourite beer, Angkor, will be on offer. Brewed with the soft spring water from the mountains 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.
Another highly popular local 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.
If you want to swig a few cold ones while saving a couple of bucks then join the locals at one of the many beer gardens that litter the capital. Be warned, Cambodians love to embark on a lively round of ‘chul mouys’ (that’s ‘cheers’ to you and me) before every single sip, which can make drinking a fun but lengthy (and rowdy) affair.
Another place to bag a booze-fuelled bargain is St. 172, arguably the city’s
most popular backpacker destination. The lively strip is home to a host of bustling bars, all offering cheap beer and other drinks. Make sure you drop in at Sundance Saloon, the perfect spot to start your night, with a spacious bar serving up a range of drinks from all the usual beers and cocktails to spirits, mixers and wine.
The nearby Riverside area is also home to several cut-price places, which often sit right next door to their more upmarket cousins. Rising Sun is a popular choice on St. 178, just off of Sisowath Quay: a British pub with cheap drinks serving great food also.
Meanwhile St. 278, south-west of Independence Monument and opposite Wat Lanka pagoda, is another popular drinking area also known as Golden Street, boasting a mix of budget places with more mid-range drinking spots. Top Banana is usually loaded with backpackers and tourists, while Liquid attracts a more upmarket crowd.
From there, hitch a ride south to the up-and-coming neighbourhood surrounding the Russian Market, known locally as Toul Tom Poung. Here, we suggest you try Seabird’s Place
(St. 410). Run by the brewmaster behind local craft beer label Riel, it offers some truly delectable eats to accompany their three bespoke ales. Our personal favourites are their handmade Kampot pepper pasta dishes.
If you dream of sipping cocktails in the sumptuous surroundings of a five-star hotel or chic bar but don’t have the wallet to match, then don’t worry because Phnom Penh is the land of dreams. 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.
Other mid-range venues where draught beers cost only $1.50, a glass of wine about $3.50 to $5 and a cocktail $3.50 to $5, include Score sports bar on St. 282, where sports fans can catch the match, game or fight on a huge screen that sits to the front of the large indoor area.
French-run Dodo Rhum House (St. 130) is another fairly priced option, serving a selection of flavoured rums, such as passion fruit, chocolate and prune, and its signature Ti punch.
Over on St. 174 is Valentino’s, which is half garden terrace bistro and half nightclub, and aimed at becoming one of the top spots in the region for the LGBT community. Load up on well priced beverages outside before heading into the club for some late night revelry, including a gay revue show at the stroke of midnight.
Duplex Belgian Tavern, on 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 as well as a popular quiz night every Wednesday.
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.
Adding to Phnom Penh’s drinking scene is the steadily growing number of venues catering for the more upmarket drinker. In recent months, the city’s 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 in some bars. Bouchon on St. 174 boasts a healthy selection of French wines, mostly from Bordeaux, to accompany a menu with French flair.
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 isn’t short of places to enjoy a cocktail with a view, and Eclipse Sky Bar (Monivong Blvd.) is one of the very best. This can come at a price, of course, with cocktails starting at $5. But watching the sun set on the city from one of it’s tallest buildings is well worth splashing the cash.
An even better elevated vista of the capital can be found right on the tip of Chhroy Changvar peninsular at Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel. On the 20th floor, the Tonle Sap Bar grants unrivalled 360 degree views overlooking the magnificent cityscape. Drinks prices match the opulent setting.
Meanwhile, Est. bar (St. 214) is an enticing option to satisfy your cravings for perfectly concocted signature cocktails. It has ba speakeasy atmosphere, two separate, classy lounges, and funky tunes.
Other prominent places 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, famed for its espresso martinis and chic ambience. A few blocks north, you’ll find the Riverhouse, a longstanding fixture offering an elegant setting in which to enjoy a cold beer, glass of wine, or a cocktail while watching the world go by.
Further up the riverside is a majestic colonial building with elements of Chinese architecture. The ezquisite and fascinating domicile is the setting for Chinese House, a restaurant that offers ambiance and classy cocktails. The sommelier will scout the wine cellar for the best bottle to go with your meal, and Fridays is Mixology Martini Madness ($4 martinis all night).
From Chinese to chilled, check out Muse Café & Lounge (St. 178) where you’ll enjoy yet more delicious cocktails, some made with fresh fruit, while taking in a fine street view across to the National Museum.