The Riverside in Phnom Penh – officially Sisowath Quay – is a hive of activity, the stretch of street that faces the Tonle Sap River packed with bars and restaurants catering towards the tourist crowds that flock there. One of the capital’s top spots at dusk, the promenade fills with locals taking an evening stroll, getting fit at the aerobics classes or playing games. Here are the 10 best bars on Riverside.
Chinese House is one of the capital’s most stylish restaurants and bars, overlooking the Tonle Sap River. Built in 1904 as the home of wealthy merchant trader Tan Bunpa, it served as a trading post at a time when the capital was undergoing rapid modernisation. The last decade has seen it restored to its former glory, with the lofty building’s upstairs serving delicious fusion fine-dining meals in the evening, while the downstairs serves as a bar, with a spacious tropical terrace and garden serving as outdoor space.
Le Moon rooftop bar sits atop the AMANJAYA Pancam Suites hotel and boasts spectacular views across the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, as well as the bustling riverside and Wat Ounalom pagoda below. This makes it popular with both young locals and tourists at dusk. The open-air terrace is home to plenty of seating and serves food as well as drinks.
La Croisette has been a stalwart on the riverside scene, providing expats and tourists with a taste of home, with a dash of Asia, since 1997 in the form of food, drinks and entertainment. With a spacious indoor space and plenty of outdoor seating – great for watching life on Riverside pass by – this is a popular place day and night.
Another Riverside old-timer, Metro Hassakan is a stylish and cosmopolitan restaurant and bar that boasts great views, delicious food and is a popular place to hang out at, both day and night. An extensive range of cocktails are served, and if you happen to be hungry, then tuck into a few of their Asian tapas dishes – the Peking duck pancakes and Tequila black pepper prawns are a must.
Riverside’s idyllic location made it one of the first tourist spots to sprout in the capital. Riverhouse is another oldie on the scene, having called Sisowath Quay home for more than 15 years. Spread across two floors, the corner venue’s downstairs bistro serves up chilled tunes, food and drinks throughout the day and evening. After dark, the upstairs lounge opens and quickly becomes swamped with young Cambodians keen to drink and party.
Every major city has to have an Irish bar, right? Well, Phnom Penh’s comes in the form of Paddy Rice, which doubles up as a sports bar, screening all of the major games so no one needs to miss out while away. Happy hours run daily, from 4pm to 8pm, and the bar regularly hosts live music night. And, if you’re in town on a Sunday and are desperate for a roast, then Paddy Rice is the place to be.
The Foreign Correspondent Club Cambodia, known affectionately as FCC, is popular with tourists catching its two-for-one happy hour and sunset views from the colonial building’s balcony that overlooks the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. FCC serves drinks and food throughout the day and night, with a range of Asian and Western dishes served.
This modern hotel boasts a well-stocked rooftop terrace overlooking the river that welcomes outside guests. A great spot to spend sunset, The Quay serves the usual array of drinks and snacks, with DJs occasionally playing mellow sundowner sets at weekends. Get there early to secure a seat with a view.
Located slightly north of the Night Market, Sundance Riverside is a laid-back guesthouse and watering hole with a pool table and large screen for sports. It is popular with backpackers and old-time expats looking for some cheap beer and chat well into the early hours – it’s open all night. It is sister Sundance to the popular backpacker spot on Street 172.
This popular expat haunt keeps music at its core. Evidence of it can be seen on the walls of the cosy Phnom Penh dive bar, with iconic music memorabilia lining them. Live music often takes over in the evenings, with a range of food served. If you had a heavy night the night before and are looking to soak up the booze, then the Full Monty breakfast on Garage’s all-day breakfast menu is a winner.