There is not much left of the former Thai restaurant on Street 51. A Jimi Hendrix portrait, motorcycle registration plates and a row of Harleys in front of the entrance now decorate the corner bar, which has turned into the headquarters of the Lone Brothers Motorcycle Club.
While the more prominent Cambodia Biker Club has laid claim to Chicago Bar and Grill as its hangout, the Lone Brothers bikers are now nesting at their eponymous joint opposite the Walkabout Hotel.
The Lone Brothers Bar has its official opening tomorrow night, with club meetings scheduled every Wednesday evening.
Lone Brothers has a different club constitution and membership requirements to the Cambodia Biker Club, though the respective chieftains maintain a good friendship. But you don’t need to be a biker to enjoy the bar. Beer is on tap for $1.50 and shots are $3, with background music ranging from ACDC, to Rammstein, to The Offspring.
Owner Claus Firnbach lived in Thailand for almost 20 years, but four years ago he decided to bring bikes and rock music to Cambodia and settled in Sihanoukville, where he opened the first Cambodian Lone Brothers Bar with his partner Alex.
Four months ago, Claus came to Phnom Penh, and gave bikers in the Kingdom’s capital a chance to meet, chat and drink while sitting at one of the two big wooden tables outside the bar.
To become a member of the Lone Brothers Motorcycle Club, you pay a once off fee of $150. After a three month period, “if we get along with each other, you’ll become a full member,” he said. Full members pay a monthly fee of $20, to support local charity projects.
According to Claus, the first bar in Sihanoukville initially received a grim prognosis, with locals betting it would close as fast as it had opened.
But the concept proved successful, mainly due to the fact that it was equally appealing to non-bikers.
“Everyone is welcome to drink a beer with or without a bike,” said Claus.