Subscribe Search

Search form

At Hub, mixology without pretension

Hub’s mobile bar is set up by Wat Botum pagoda.
Hub’s mobile bar is set up by Wat Botum pagoda. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

At Hub, mixology without pretension

As darkness falls on the capital, the sidewalk along Wat Botum Park comes to life. Food carts line the promenade, and the sounds of chatter fill the air.

At the centre of the activity is Hub, a cosy wooden stand opened three months ago that stands out among the other stalls for its modern design. Named after the Khmer word for a box, the bar consists of a hut, several wooden tables and chairs, and strung-up fairy lights. And despite the street-side digs, it serves up delicious cocktails.

“For me, I love something quiet and a place to talk,” says Sok Dara, the 29-year-old owner. “After we finish work, friends come, and we sit and talk. That’s why the lights – and everything – is warm.”

A plate of fried noodles and a bottle of Botum Passion sits on a candle-lit table at Hub.
A plate of fried noodles and a bottle of Botum Passion sits on a candle-lit table at Hub. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

Until recently, Dara was working at La Familia, a high-end distributor of spirits and mixology supplies that also trains bartenders around town. That experience shows in the drinks which, despite being only $2, rival some of the best in town.

Dara wants locals to embrace drinking cocktails, rather than just beer, so he has arranged the menu around that concept, offering 15 drinks on the menu – including classics like the Mojito and Negroni, as well as others with a Khmer twist.

One that Dara particularly recommends is the Botum Passion, which is a blend of rum and fruit juice. Other options aimed at locals include the Orkun Bong, a gin-based drink with lime, mint, bitters and cucumber, and the Take Care OUN!, with vodka, pomegranate, lime and simple syrup.

Dara’s three staff members all live in the pagoda across the way, and until joining his staff had no work to support themselves.

“I try to help them out [by giving] them good experience – like how to make a good cocktail,” he said. “Now, I’m thinking of [expanding to] Takhmao.”

Beyond the drink menu, Dara has a partnership with a neighbouring food cart, owned by Menagol Yin. The Post tried the fried noodles ($1.50), chicken wings ($1.50), and the duck eggs ($0.50 each) – each of which was tasty and fresh.

While the food and drinks are a steal, what keeps customers returning seems, ultimately, to come down to its comfortable setting, light-hearted attitude and friendly vibes.

“I created a little bar so that people can sit around and drink and talk to the bar [staff],” he said.

Hub is located on Street 7 across from Wat Botum and is open from 5pm to late every day.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Thy Sovantha threatens new suit

    Social media celebrity and card-carrying CPP member Thy Sovantha yesterday said she will file a lawsuit against wildlife NGO head Suwanna Gauntlett alleging discrimination after the latter allegedly denied her access to an ecotourism program the group is launching today in Koh Kong province. The

  • Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

    A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities. A report posted to the

  • Hun Sen’s in-law removed from RCAF after cockfighting rings raided

    Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen who is accused of running two large cockfighting rings, has been removed as a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Phany, formerly a one-star brigadier general, was removed by royal decree on December 19, according to

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially