Zeppelin Cafe, a popular rock bar in Phnom Penh, is ending its eight-year residency on Street 51 and starting anew in a fresh incarnation on Street 278.
In some ways the new Zeppelin, to be located in a long-unoccupied site above a laundromat, will seem unfamiliar to regulars of the cave-like watering hole.
For one, the place will have a high ceiling. Adobe lamps covered with plastic vines hang from the rafters, while bamboo lines some walls and colourful posters others. There will also be a pool table and, as owner Jun Rockwell is keen to point out, the bathrooms will be spacious and gender-divided, in contrast to the cramped, vandalised WC of the old location.
But not all is new. The food and drink menu will stay the same (though there will be an expanded dumpling selection and an espresso machine), and Zeppelin regulars will recognise most of the retro furniture, which is all to be transported over from 51.
While there will be a modest new stage for Sunday night acoustic performances (7pm until 10pm), next to it will be Rockwell’s iconic DJ booth, in which the Taiwanese national will continue to hunch between stacks of vinyl night after night blaring rock music.
Rockwell (a self-given surname) said that he decided to leave his Street 51 holdout when the landlord told him that he was planning on selling the property and would only provide two month’s notice when it happened. Uncomfortable with the uncertainty, Rockwell decided to take the initiative and relocate to Street 278.
It’s not his first move. Zeppelin’s predecessor was a bar called Black and White, which he ran in a location near Central Market. He had that bar for four years before moving to Street 51 nearly a decade ago.
Zeppelin’s last hurrah at Street 51 will take place tomorrow night, when Rockwell will host a party with a live band. That will be followed by a brief pause before Zeppelin reopens in Street 278 on February 18.
Despite the move, Rockwell is assured that Zeppelin regulars will not be disappointed.
“Everything’s the same,” he said. “We will just do more.”
From February 18, Zeppelin Cafe will be open for business at #13 Street 278 from 2pm until late.