Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - First ‘tuk-tuk’ bar brings a hint of Pub Street to the capital – without the noise

First ‘tuk-tuk’ bar brings a hint of Pub Street to the capital – without the noise

Aneth, Sna’s wife, tends the bar this week as patrons crowd around the tuk tuk and onto the sidewalk.
Aneth, Sna’s wife, tends the bar this week as patrons crowd around the tuk tuk and onto the sidewalk. Sahiba Chawdhary

First ‘tuk-tuk’ bar brings a hint of Pub Street to the capital – without the noise

Parked in the evenings at the intersection between streets 51 and 288 is a tuk-tuk, but this one is different from the many others parked along the road. On one side is a rack of fully-stocked liquor bottles, while a bar has been constructed that wraps around the other three sides. A small crowd of backpackers, locals, and expats pile onto barstools.

This is Phnom Penh’s first “tuk-tuk bar” - the concept of Roeun Rathana, 25, manager at Top Banana, and Chhai Sopheakdey, 26, manager at Mini Banana, who are known by patrons and friends as Sna and Pheakdey, respectively.

Inspired by the rows of roadside bars along Pub Street in Siem Reap, Pheakdey thought to set up his own by refurbishing an existing tuk-tuk he had. Sna too had the idea of launching a mobile bar in a van, but was stumped by the high costs. The two friends, who met while working together at popular bar Show Box, decided to team up to fix up the tuk-tuk.

Both have at least five years of bartending experience under their belt. Sna learned how to mix cocktails from Mao Hong Kry, the pioneer of Siem Reap’s tuk-tuk bars. At their Phnom Penh rendition, a can of beer costs $1, cocktails from $2, and shots range from $1.50 to $2.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Customers sit at the tuk tuk bar on Street 51. Sahiba Chawdhary

The intimate space seats up to 12, and the duo plans to add two tables on the side of the street to accommodate more. In the future, Pheakdey says that they plan to launch a mobile catering service for parties.

What differentiates the bar from Siem Reap’s offerings is the low-key, relaxed atmosphere. According to Sna, Pub Street is overcrowded with tuk-tuk bars, each striving to make themselves seen and heard. “Now it’s ten tuk-tuks in the same area, with very loud speakers, playing ten [songs] at the same time … it sounds annoying,” she said. “When I go there I cannot hear anything.”

They hope to provide a space for those looking for a place to chill out, meet new people over cheap drinks along the street and wind down the night with quiet music, as well as to attract backpackers after a night out on Street 278.

“You don’t have to think that this is a bar [where] you don’t know anyone. If you come to us, you have family. We want people to come, talk to each other and have fun together … We want to make the world closer,” Sna says.

Phnom Penh’s first tuk-tuk bar is located along Street 51, opposite the intersection of Street 288, and is open from 11pm-3am every day.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.