O NE of the capital's most famed expat nightspots Rock Hard Cafe closed abruptly
on June 3, doing it in typical style - with a riproaring party which rumbled on
Manager Peter Getgood, said there were many reasons for
closing but the immediate cause was that the lease had run out. He said the
major partner Hogi Hyun of Singapore wanted a five year renewal but was only
offered a one-year contract.
Getwood said "This made a [necessary]
upgrade of the establishment unfeasible. The drop-off in tourism also
He added: "When Untac was here it was an Untac bar and
when they left the expected tourism boom never materialized."
drinking at the party was prodigious, there was a trace of saddness in the air
as it marked the end of one of the more well-known expat pubs which survived the
withdrawal of Untac .
Mike Mills, an American expat, summed it up saying:
"There is no alternative, with most bars opening late.
"There was no
place where you could sip beer and eat in the afternoon in such a laid-back
The pub, which shamelessly ripped off the Hard Rock Cafe
logo, gained international notoriety for the high jinks of Untac staff during
its heyday. Their exploits were splashed over six pages of Australian Penthouse
and it was the subject of articles in the German magazine Der Speigal and
Australian Business Review.
Post Untac the bar had a slightly less
raunchy image but was well known for its good music, relaxed atmosphere and its
It opened in June 1992 and closed on June 1 with staff
being informed as they arrived or shortly before starting work.
re-opened for just one night for the farewell.
Getgood denied that the
recent upsurge in fighting contributed to the downturn in business but he said
the sales of T-shirts increased dramatically with its "Holiday in Cambodia"
The bar closed leaving several debts amounting to several thousand
dollars but Kevin Whitcraft, who described himself as fund manager, said they
would all be paid in full.
A leading official at the Ministry of Post
and Telecommunications Department, which is one of the creditors, said on June
10 that steps had been taken to stop any parties involved leaving the country
prior to the debts being met.
When asked if the bar could re-open,
Getgood replied "not under my auspices" and added he was more concerned about
finding new jobs for his 11 Khmer staff.
Shannon Little, a Western
barmaid concluded: It was a fun place to hang out and we'll miss working