Thirst things first
Partygoers shouldn’t be put off by Siem Reap’s diminutive size – the local nightlife scene definitely punches well above its weight, with the good times going on well into the early hours.
Despite the frequent sound of monks chanting at the ungodly hour of 5am, Siem Reapers tend to party until well past fish porridge-o’-clock (i.e. breakfast time), with no shortage of excellent places to do so.
That’s not to say that you have to stay out late dancing, drinking, and yelling yourself hoarse to have a great time, but maybe after just one more you can rest up for that temple visit you keep putting off.
Cut a track over to Hard Rock Café at King’s Road Angkor and get ready to be transported to the world of rock’n’roll, with live bands belting out a range of classic hits in surroundings decked out with authentic music memorabilia.
Laundry Bar on Psar Chas, with its smooth, upscale ’70s-style décor, is the quintessential hip French hangout. Help yourself to a happy hour-priced caramel liqueur and vodka while gyrating on the dance floor to live gypsy jazz, or play pool in the back room with a stylish assortment of bohemians.
Does the phrase “bucket of whiskey” whet your appetite for debauchery? Dive into the drunken throng at Angkor What? Bar – Siem Reap’s original late-night destination for the wild and carefree. Even those who don’t usually dance on tables may find themselves elevated by the end of the night, hypnotised by the blaring pop and flashing lights. Walk eastbound and down the street and you’ll encounter Soul Train, a backpackers hangout with loud music, loads of energy, and an open-air space where you’ll boogie to your heart’s content to the beats from a live DJs. The vibrant atmosphere is kept alive with a great selection of music, which is also open to the customers to play what they wish.
If you’ve still got some energy left, catch your breath and wander back up the road to find yourself in the middle of a circle of youthful Khmers at Temple Bar, doing the New Orleans-style Bounce to obscenely loud music. Time your run right and you’ll get in before Happy Hour ends at 10pm to enjoy delightfully cheap drinks.
Just along from Pub Street, near the riverside, you’ll find Barcode Lounge Gay Bar. This chic night spot serves up a fantastic array of cocktails, beers, wines and champagne to Dapper Dans and Sultry Susans looking for a good time.
An incredibly eclectic array of music is to be found at X Bar, where almost every quality DJ and band in town ply their trade, representing all the genres Siem Reap has to offer. With visits from international acts, regular weekly events, and live music every night, the party doesn’t stop.
Every Wednesday is open-mic night, followed by memorable DJ sessions. On Friday, the famous (well, at least in Siem Reap) in-house band struts their stuff. Things really get going at 2 or 3am and don’t wind down until the birds chirp and the sun rises over the rooftop half-pipe.
Cheers along Pub Street has built up and considerable reputation amongst locals, expats and tourists thanks to its lively club atmosphere and unbelievably loud sound system. The bar hosts both live music and DJ sets, with the drinks menu reassuringly inexpensive. So get ready to test the limits of your livers, and eardrums…
Mezze, in the Old Market area near the Red Piano, is well worth seeking out. Sumptuously decorated with soft lights and furniture, this bar is straight up sexy. Enjoy their great electronic music, enhanced by one of the best sound systems in town, and sip on a delightful signature cocktail.
Scotch Mist, nestled in Street 11, is a sterling addition to Temple Town’s exuberant night life. You’ve guessed right: you’ll find whiskey here – lots of it. The water of life comes under 17 different labels, including Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie and Talisker. With three big flat TVs and a huge white screen, this is also a great spot for catching up on the biggest sports events of the night. Hungry? The British pub-grub style menu won’t disappoint as well.