New York is the big Apple, and you could say Phnom Penh is the Small Lychee. Branching out from all sides, rough around the edges and sweet in the middle. The town parties all night long and there is something for everyone. We put together this night life page as an introduction, but like the Lychee, you will have to have your own branches to find the niche that works well for you. We might be a little biased, but its our site'. We tell our customers.....It's your Holiday. Enjoy the venues that suit you the best, and like many of our customers, come back every year! From California 2, (even) street numbers get higher as you go south along the riverfront. We have laid out this page heading south along the riverfront from our location as well as where you might end up at the end of your night. Our Bar and Kitchent operates 24 hours a day and is popular with expats as well as guest. Many contacts and friendships have originated at our bar. For the new expat or traveler, the information exchanged here has been invaluable. We offer good food and drink at great prices. Many start here before hitting the town. We hope you will too. The main areas are the Wat Phnom-104, Riverfront, and Street 51. Many other venues are dotted through out the city in between.
WAT PHNOM AREA
We are happy to plug our bar first. We have generous cocktails and great beer prices. We don't stock many brands, but when you get a gin tonic, you will get it with Bombay Sapphire and at the same price other venues sell house spirits for. We have always tried to offer good value for our customers and as a result have attracted a good expat following as well.
POOL IN THE CALIFORNIA 2
Many venues around town have free pool. California 2, The Pickled Parrot, Gym Bar and Sharky have proper nine ball tables. Sharky charges 1000 riel a game. Occasionally there are pool comps around town and the Walkabout has one every Tuesday night. Rules can change from place to place. In some places they have rules to keep the games moving. Don't get worked up over quirky rules.
SPORTS IN THE CALIFORNIA 2
Most venues have TVs and English Premier games are common. You can see futbol 7/24/365 in Cambodia. We carry ASN network that has US sports, however time zone difference puts the NFL games on in the wee hours of the evening. The Gym bar has a satelite feed for some of the hard to get sports such as cricket. Cambodian TV will also secure rights to games such as the womens world cup soccer. Just ask most bar managers whether they might carry the sporting event you are interested in. Paddy Rice along the riverfront airs games on the big screen.
TITANIC RESTAURANT A SHORT BLOCK AWAY AND LA CROISETTE FARTHER DOWN THE RIVERFRONT
There are plenty of fine dining experiences to be had nearby. Our kitchen operates 24 hours a day. Our menu caters to traveling customers and expat crowd. We have specialize in burgers, tacos and Khmer food. We introduced the fish taco to Cambodia back in 2001. Across the street is the Titanic Restaurant where one can sit on the Riverside and enjoy Traditional Apsara Dancing. Just on the next block is the Green Vespa offering some of the best western cuisine in the city and has become very popular among the Expat community. Fish Restaurant was opened by one of the if not the best chef in Phnom Penh. Located about 200 meters south of our location near the night market. Venture along the riverfront for one of the many restaurants that might suit your palate. Pick up a Drinking and Dining guide in our lobby and in many locations around town. Great dining to be had at a fraction of the cost you would pay back home.
FISH RESTAURANT LEFT AND MAO'S ON THE RIGHT
Both sit on either side of the night market. Mao's is a new venue offering drinks, nerd night and on occasions live music. Just two streets south of us is Street 104 loaded with bars. Many are hostess bars that primarily cater to men, but women are welcome as well, and the local girls enjoy the cultural exchange with western women. The Pickled Parrot & The Cavern Bar on the same street are not hostess bars and offer pool and sports. Air Force Bar (formally Z Bar), 104, Rose Bar, and Zanzi Bar have been well established over the years.
FUN WITH MIRRORS ON STREET 104
THE CAVERN BAR WITH LIVE MUSIC AND ROSE BAR ON STREET 104
AIR FORCE BAR ON STREET 104, OUTSIDE AND SKYDIVING INSIDE
Mao's on the corner of Street 106 has a nice lounge setting and periodically has a variety of live musicians.
THE NIGHT MARKET ON STREETS 106 AND 108
The night market is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings till about 11PM. Shopping, live Khmer Music Venues and plenty of local food.
RIVERHOUSE LOUNGE ON STREET 110 WITH DJ DANCING AND NICE VIEWS OVER THE RIVERFRONT
LIVE MUSIC MEMPHIS PUB AND A LARGE COLLECTION OF NOT SO LIVE MUSIC AT GARAGE BAR
Garage bar is an Expat hang out and offers a pretty decent menu. Try the popular Cuban sandwich.
CAMBODIAN SPACE PROJECT AT MAO'S
Mao's just a couple of blocks away has live music periodically in a lounge setting. There are plenty of venues that will have live music. Sharky Bar on Street 130, consistently has bands on a weekly basis. Other venues such as Paddy Rice on the riverfront, will have bands from time to time, and runs and open mike night on Thursdays. Memphis Pub has their regular house band and The FCC will offer live music from time to time. Check the Phnom Penh Post 7 Days weeklend supplement to see what event is happing around town.
ECSTATIC OFFERING BEER DEALS AND STREET 136
Phnom Penhs riverfront is full of bars and restaurants to suit any budget. Expect to pay a little more if the venue offers airconditioning. There are plenty of outdoor seating venues to watch the activity on the riverfront. Street 136 is full of hostess bars. Candy Bar on Street 136 operates 24 hours. Many hostesses earn a commission pushing drinks. Usually a ladies drink will cost 3 dollars with a dollar going to the lady. Be careful about lady drink pricing as it varies from venue to venue. Beware of padded bills as well. Odd Street numbers get higher as you move away from the riverfront. The last block before the FCC was a popular stretch of restaurants in the early days. Cantina for Mexican food (and more of a correspondent meeting place than the FCC) Happy Herbs, and the Pink Elephant are legendary. The Rising Sun around the corner on Street 178 has a great breakfast. You only need the half breakfast to fill yourself up.
The Naga Casino operates 24 hours. Poker, black jack and slot machines. Darling Darling is a popular night spot as it was different than anything that had opened in the Kingdom. Coming from the west, it iwill look like any hotel lounge to you. Live music and DJs dancing. Drinks there are pricey.
Martinis has been operating since 1996 and with the development of Phnom Penh, has found itself in its 3rd location. Martinis has two pool tables, a disco, and a large laidback outdoor patio. Good cheap food, movies and premier league games on the big screen. From most locations, Martini's is about 2-3 dollars to get to by Tuk Tuk and a couple dollars by moto. "Lonely...Bored....Hungry....?
STREET 51 AREA
Street 51 is where the party continues into the wee hours. Bars, night clubs and food stalls are wedged for two blocks between Streets 154 and 174. The Heart of Darkness is the longest running dance venue in the area. It offers DJ dancing, a pool table and Lazers galore. It operates till 4am (5 on weekends). Pontoon after operation in various locations on the Tonle Sap river from an actual pontoon, has gone land locked as a result of docking issues in various neighborhoods. It is the largest of all the dance venues in the area. They offer "international DJs" and charge a cover on the weekends for the same. Depending on the DJ entry can be 3-8 dollars. Pricing in the Pontoon is higher than the Heart. Saint Tropez on Street 174 is popular for Cambodia's nouvo riche. Done a a white decor, it has more of a lounge feel and can be the most costly of the three.
There are plenty of bars along the strip. Large, small, hostess, rock and roll, reggae. A little of something for everyone.
SHANGHAI BAR ON THE CORNER OF 51 AND 172
Shanghai is one of the longest running bars on 51. Touted as a Hostess bar, it is actually pretty tame and offers sports on the big screen and a pool table.
T PUB NEXTDOOR TO THE HEART OF DARKNESS
North of the Heart of Darkness there is a series of bars. My Lien, Pit Stop and Alien Bars have operated on the street for years.
The Walkabout Hotel operates a 24 hour bar and has 3 pool tables. Friday nights the Joker draw is popular among expats and tourist as they try their luck at winning prizes and the jackpot cash prize. The Zepplin next door to the Walkabout has the largest vynyl collection in South East Asia and stay open till 4am. The Heart of Darkness is touted as dangerous in older travel books, but over the years and with development and increased security, the bad guys have gone elsewhere and it's lost the wild west edge (as has 99% of the country).
THE HEART OF DARKNESS
DANCING IN THE HEART AND DJ BRETT ANGEL MAKING A CAMEO APPEARANCE
LAZER LIGHT SHOW EVERY NIGHT OR THE WEEK IN THE HEART
GOOD TIMES IN THE HEART AND TURNTABLES JUST FOR SHOW
Street 51 has grown over the past few years and it has become the place to be late night. People parade from venue to venue and to one of the many food stalls offering anything fromTraditional Khmer Food to Kabobs and Burgers. By day Golden Sorya Market is dotted with clothing shops which button up at night an make way for the food stands.
POOR FISH EARNING A LIVING OFF A GROUP OF BACK PACKERS AND POPULAR RAKSMEY BURGER
GOLDEN SORYA MALL WITH A SELECTION OF LATE NIGHT EATS
DANCING IN THE HEART OF DARKNESS
LONG TIME HOWIE BAR OFFERS POOL WITH AIRCONDITIONING AND WHITE COBRA GREAT FOR WATCHING THE PARADE ALONG 51
WHERE TO GO TONIGHT?
WHETHER YOU PULL AN ALL NIGHTER OR HAVE AN EARLY ARRIVAL OUR FRIENDLY STAFF WELCOMES YOU.
UP UNTIL 2003 There were just a few watering holes around Phnom Penh. By 2006 there were over 100 bars catering to locals, expats, and tourist. The numbers keep growing.
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All text and photographs © 1999 - 2012 James M. Heston -Cafe California 2 Hotel - Guesthouse Phnom Penh Cambodia. Commercial or editorial usage without written permission of the copyright holder is prohibited.