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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rock Hard signs off suddenly

Rock Hard signs off suddenly

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

until dawn.

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

contributed."

He added: "When Untac was here it was an Untac bar and

when they left the expected tourism boom never materialized."

While the

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

atmosphere."

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

Western food.

It opened in June 1992 and closed on June 1 with staff

being informed as they arrived or shortly before starting work.

It then

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"

logo.

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

there."

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