Ritzy tipples that will cause a few ripples

Ritzy tipples that will cause a few ripples

You don’t have to be staying at any of Phnom Penh’s ritzier hotels to drink in their bars. Will Jackson and Bennett Murray found six of the best spots for a bit of classy drinking, benchmarked by the quality of their gin and tonics

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Elephant Bar at Raffles Hotel Le Royal
The best thing about the Elephant Bar is the happy hour (4pm to 9pm), when drinks are 50 per cent off. The worst thing is that’s the only time the bar’s drinks are even remotely affordable. A coke costs $5. However, because of the colonial theme, it’s without doubt the best place to drink G&Ts, which are served with a very generous measure of gin with an extra carafe of tonic, so you can fix ’em just the way you want ’em. There’s no Hendriks, but they do have Tanqueray N10 ($12), which is very tasty indeed.
Atmosphere: 5 | Value for money: 4 (during happy hour otherwise 1) | G&Ts: 4.5
Elephant Bar: Raffles Le Royal, #92 Rukhak Vithei.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Rooftop Bar at Quay Boutique Hotel
Sipping cocktails on a sunny afternoon at Quay Boutique Hotel’s rooftop bar isn’t exactly like being in the Mediterranean. But taking the elevator to the fourth floor of this modish white-on-white-themed Riverside retreat is a damn sight easier than catching a flight to Europe. Dip your feet in the paddle pool, knock back a white wine ($4.50) and convince yourself you’re in Mallorca. Don’t bother with the gin though – the best they have is Bombay Sapphire ($5).
Atmosphere: 4 | Value for money: 3 | G&Ts: 2
Quay Bar: Quay Hotel, #277 Sisowath Quay.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

D22 Bar at Tama Hotel
One level below the open-air Eclipse Sky Bar in Monivong’s Phnom Penh Tower building is the newly-opened Tama Hotel’s D22 Bar. This offers views almost as impressive but without the risk of a monsoonal drenching. The Japanese-owned watering hole is worth checking out for the decor alone. It’s . . . eclectic. With its mix-and-match leather couches, model tall ships, old typewriters, bicycles, spinning wheels, film cameras and other random bric-a-brac, D22 is in danger of going past hipster vintage and into antique shop territory. Throw in some interesting draft Carlsberg ($3.50) and cocktails (on the menu, they range from $4.50 up to $15 for a “flaming Lamborghini”) and you have the makings of an interesting night.
Atmosphere: 5 | Value for money: 4 | G&Ts: 2
D22: Tama Hotel, Phnom Penh Tower, floor 22 #445 Monivong Boulevard.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Kolab Sor Sky Bar
Want to enjoy a rooftop tipple without paying top dollar? Away from the Riverside tourist beat is Kolab Sor’s bar. This provides a nearly panoramic view of the heart of Phnom Penh just off the corner of Monivong Boulevard and Street 310. While the views aren’t as impressive as those from the city’s mega towers, the staff is gregarious and the prices fairly reasonable. Bombay Sapphire and Gordons are $4, while the more ambitious can order what is perhaps the most unusual gin drink in the city: The Flaming Rose Lamborghini Tower ($12), complete with gin, mint, Baileys, Kahlua, Blue Curacao, Sambuca and Midori. As the name implies, this intricately layered concoction is set alight prior to serving. The usual domestic beers are available for $2.50, while imported Heineken, Corona, Budweiser, Tiger and Guinness can be had for $3.50.
Atmosphere: 4 | Value for money: 3 | G&Ts: 4
Kolab Sar, #436, Street 310. 5-12pm

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Le Bar
The lobby bar at Sofitel, named Southeast Asia’s second best hotel last year by Condé Nast Traveller, is so sleek and well-stocked it wouldn’t be out of place in the home of a banking chief executive. Six kinds of gin are on offer, including Ungava ($12++), infused with botanicals from the Canadian arctic. The Bou Sraa Waterfall ($9), Le Bar’s signature drink made from Cambodian rice spirit infused with jasmine flower, tamarind liqueur, creme de peche, dragon fruit and more, won the Cambodian Restaurant Association’s Cocktail Making Competition 2012. But with top quality comes towering prices – unless you are fresh off the plane or on an expense account. The blow is softened on Fridays, with a 5-9pm happy hour on selected drinks and $5 tapas.
Atmosphere: 5 | Value for money: 2 (double the score for happy hour) | G&Ts: 5
Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, #27 Old August Site. 8am-11:30pm

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Cambodiana Lobby Bar
The Cambodiana Hotel’s Lobby Bar provides a smoky, dimly lit drinking spot that is either depressingly dreary or delightfully dingy, depending on your tastes. It is somewhat cheaper than the city’s other luxury hotels, with Tiger draft beer at $4 and Bombay Sapphire at $6, but it lacks the unique atmosphere of Raffles or Sofitel. There is also a half-price happy hour from 5pm to 7pm for the duration of the World Cup. The hotel’s signature drink is the Cambodiana River Breeze ($6), complete with white rum, blue Curacao, Amaretto, pineapple juice and honey.
Atmosphere: 2 | Value for money: 2 (add another point for World Cup happy hour) G&Ts: 2
Cambodiana Hotel, #313 Sisowath Quay. 8am-midnight

MOST VIEWED

  • CDRI poll: Most happy but disappointments still exist

    A survey has found that over 70 per cent of Cambodian youths and adults approve of the direction the country is headed in, with the majority of respondents saying they had been doing better financially over the past five years. However, more than half said they

  • Drugs raid on Miami Night Club, 50 held

    Anti-drugs police raided a club in Chamkarmon district’s Boeung Keng Kang I commune in Phnom Penh early on Thursday, arresting some 50 people and confiscating drug-producing equipment and suspected illegal substances. Deputy National Police chief Mok Chito said on Thursday that police conducted the raid

  • Phnom Penh: The street food you adore, but given a refined twist

    There is no shortage of street food vendors scattered across Phnom Penh, but what is far rarer is finding a place that also has comfortable seating, good hygiene and parking. This is where Jing Ling and her five friends step in. With the concept of

  • Battambang court releases minor who shot boy

    The Battambang provincial court on Thursday released a 14-year-old boy who had been detained for accidentally firing a home-made gun and killing a nine-year-old boy in Samlot district on Tuesday, provincial court spokesman Tieng Sambor said. Sambor told The Post on Thursday that following the