The Penh is coloured with personalities from around the globe, yet despite differences in preferences, opinions and cultures, there is one shared taste that unites foreigners, tourists and locals alike – good booze at reasonable prices.
Phnom Penh is bursting at the seams in choices of restaurants, bars and hotels, each promoting their beer and cocktails as better than the next, with special happy hour deals to draw in the masses. To help you begin sussing out the best happy hour deals around town, 7Days has compiled a list of some of the most memorable drinking venues – one to suit each day of the week.
FRIDAY – Miro Restaurant and Lounge 43 Sihanouk Blvd
Deal: 50 per cent off from 6pm to 8pm
Cocktails from $2.25
Beer from $1.50
Spirits from $1.75
Wine (Glasses only at 25 per-cent off) from $2
Miro Restaurant and Lounge offers you an escape from the hubbub of the streets into a chic and cool environment, perfect for knocking back happy hour drinks with friends in style. Happy hour can easily turn into a classy night out as the lounge turns into a vibrant joint perfect for meeting new people. The manager, Sokvireak Bun, says; “We see a lot of Khmer and expatriates who come and mingle together. They keep coming back because the food and prices are good. We also have a variety of cocktails and we are always working at putting more on the menu.”
SATURDAY – Foreign Correspondence Club 363 Sisowath Quay
Deal: 50 per cent off all drinks (excluding bottled beer and bottled wine) 5pm to 7pm
Angkor can $1.25
Cocktails $2.75 glass, $7 jug
House wine $2
Soft drinks from $1.25
The bar that once provided a recluse for journalists and their sources to swap secrets and diplomats, strategies is now regarded as a must-see for people passing through the Penh.
The sunset view of the river from the rooftop bar is a serene environment to enjoy a few drinks. The manager Benjamin Le Grand says happy hour is always the busiest time of the day. “We get a lot of tourists who come because they find us in the Lonely Planet. Groups, young and old come to enjoy the sunset and the view. The young people usually just come for happy hour and then move on out when it’s over whereas the older crowds usually stay on for something to eat.”
SUNDAY – Metro Cnr Sisowath Quay and St 148
Deal: 25 per cent off all drinks from 5pm to 7pm
Beer - From $1.90
Cocktails – From $3.60
Wine – From $3.30
The dark hues, stainless steel and high-rise tables and chairs at Metro oozes in upper-class sophistication and glamour. The bar and restaurant attracts mainly expatriates and wealthier Khmer clientele who, according to Metro operational manager Hor Titraksmey keep coming back for more. “Our customers enjoy our unique martini menu which many other places don’t have,” she says. “They don’t just come here for our happy hour, they come because they know we offer a unique experience and good quality drinks – something they expect to have.”
MONDAY – Tamarind Restaurant No. 31 St 240
Deal: 50 per cent off cocktails from 3pm to 7pm
Cambodian draft beer $1
The roof top area at this Mediterranean-inspired bar and restaurant provides a tranquil and docile atmosphere where you can literally lounge around on couches and pillows sipping cocktails and, if it’s your thing, smoking a shisha pipe. “We get a lot of everyone; tourists, expats and locals. They like to relax on our beautiful rooftop and lounge area,” says Van Annette, the owner. Free tapas also comes with happy hour drinks.
TUESDAY – Elephant Bar Raffles Hotel Le Royal
Deal: 50 per cent off cocktails, beer and soft drink from 4pm to 9pm
Beer from $2.5
Like the hotel it’s nestled in, the Elephant Bar at Raffles is a luxurious recluse for guests and visitors. The peaceful, carpeted and lounged area has its own piano player who plays classical melodies to high-class locals and businessmen, hotel guests, government workers and other expatriates. The menu has a rich choice in cocktails and beers and also, though not included in the happy hour deal, cigars. “The Elephant Bar offers a very romantic and poetic experience,” says the bar manager, Kun Neng. “We have the best service in town, people are attracted to that, to our exceptional atmosphere.”
WEDNESDAY – Mekong River Cnr Sisowath Quay and St 118
Angkor draft from 7am to 12pm and cocktails from $1.75 from 5pm to 12pm.
The Mekong River offers views of the Tonle Sap from its upstairs bar or customers can sit in an alfresco area on the street below. One of the restaurant and bar managers Nhes Seyniet says they get an even mixture of locals, expatriates and tourist. “At night time we are very busy in the bar upstairs and downstairs. We are popular because we have good, cheap cocktails and beer.” Stay long enough at this joint, which is open 24 hours a day, and you can enjoy an early morning breakfast buffet to rid your hangover blues.
THURSDAY – Kwest Bar and Restaurant Cnr Sisowath Quay and St 154
Deal: Buy one get one free from 6pm to 8pm
Soft drink from $2.30
Draft beer from $2.30
The open bar and restaurant offers a peaceful and relaxing environment to help you wind-down from a tiring day. There is a varied cocktail list, and choices in mixer drinks. “We are always very busy during happy hour because people know they will get good deals,” says the restaurant manager Seng Sok Eng. “We play smooth, chilled romantic music, none of this pop or rock stuff. People like to come to us to chill out and have a refreshing and relaxed time.” The crowd varies from Cambodians, foreigners, organizations and tour groups.