Phnom Penh is home to an abundance of bars, ranging from the cheap to the chic 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 Angkor Premium Beer a rich source of national pride. Or if the local stuff doesn’t do it for you, then grab a cold, fresh Heineken, now available all over Cambodia.
If you want to swig a few beers while saving a couple 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. Since the lakeside area of Boeung Kak closed for development, this area has taken over the mantle as a 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 on Sisowath Quay, 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 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, a British pub with cheap drinks serving great food also.
Meanwhile St. 278, south-west of Independence Monument, is another popular drinking area, boasting a mix of budget places with more mid-range drinking spots. Top Banana is popular with backpackers and tourists, while Liquid attracts a more upmarket crowd.
From there, hitch a ride south and you’ll eventually encounter the up-and-coming neighbourhood surrounding the Russian Market, known as Toul Tom Poung. Here, we recommend you try Seabird’s Place (St. 410). Run by the brewmaster behind local craft beer label Riel, this place offers some truly delectable eats to accompany their bespoke ales. Our personal favourites are all 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. The French-run Dodo Rhum House (St. 178) is another fairly priced option, as well as claiming the title of the world’s best rum bar, serving a selection of flavoured rums, such as passion fruit, chocolate and prune, and its signature Ti punch.
Duplex Belgian Tavern, in St. 278, is the ideal place to hang out, nurse a beverage or two, and enjoy the atmospheric bustle of this crazy city. Prices are reasonable and the selection of Belgian beers – 30 different brands in total – is impressive.
If real beer is your thing, then head to Hops Brewery & Craft Beer Garden (St. 228), a centrally-located microbrewery with a beer garden & grill, a restaurant, an art lounge, private rooms, terraces and a sports bar with high-end billiard tables and electronic darts. Their brewing ingredients are 100% natural, imported from Germany, and their beer is produced following the highest German brewing standards.
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. The atmosphere is casual.
North but still on the Riverside, Hooters Phnom Penh (St. 104) offers much more than their trademark chicken wings. The venue, part of a popular American chain expanding swiftly across the region, has everything you need in the way of liquid concoctions and just the right atmosphere for a night out with friends or colleagues.
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, which are all crafted onsite, start at $7 for a pint, with master brewer Neo Say Wee ensuring his four different beers will quench the thirst of every customer.
For another sublime microbrewery experience, head over to Kingdom Breweries (National Road 5) and take the $8 brewery tour. You’ll finish up at the onsite Taproom, where you’ll try unlimited samples of their wide range of beers, all the while enjoying a beautiful river view. Make sure to taste the brand new Indochine White and Indochine IPA.
The last stop in our tour of midrange drinking options brings us back to Toul Tom Poung to have 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 excellent fusion tapas and 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 above $20 in some bars, flavours from across the world can now be found right here in Cambodia. Bouchon on St. 246 also boasts a healthy selection of French wines, mostly from Bordeaux, to accompany a menu with French flair. Zino on St. 294 has gained a sizeable following and is often filled to the brim with locals, expats and tourists enjoying a glass of fine wine or two.
Il Forno (St. 302) is now in the capital after having amassed 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.
Est. bar (St. 214) is an enticing option to satisfy your cravings for perfectly concocted signature cocktails. It has a 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 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, opposite the National Museum) where you’ll enjoy yet more delicious cocktails, some made with fresh fruit, while taking in the great view.