While Phnom Penh is awash with cheap beers, the craft brewing trend has made its way to the shores. Throw into the mix a surge in imported beers, and whatever your taste, there’s a refreshing cool beer waiting to be drunk at the bar.
Once a backpackers’ haven and overrun with beers for 50 cents, Cambodia is shaking off its shackles as a budget destination solely catering to this crowd. As it embraces a new, modern era, hip hangouts, sophisticated soirees and an eclectic mix of boutique bars are mushrooming across the city, meaning whatever your taste, there’s a place to kick back and grab a beer.
Angkor and Cambodia beers are the most popular brews across the country, with advertising for the iconic beers seemingly everywhere. In recent years, imported varieties have started to trickle into the country, followed by the recent burgeoning craft beer trend.
If you’re on a budget and seeking bargain-basement beers, then the backpacker hubs are the place to be. Streets 172, 278 and the riverside area – Sisowath Quay – are alive with guesthouses and bars serving $1 beers, which often dip to 50 cents during early evening happy hours. Sundance Inn & Saloon is a popular spot for cheap drinks, a chilled atmosphere, mini pool in the back and a pool table indoors.
Also on Street 172, Sony Side Up is another great spot to relax with a cheap beer in hand. Throw into the mix super-friendly Sony and his family, who are on hand to serve with a huge smile, and this spot is a winner. It also serves heart-warming food that will remind you of home.
Located on Street 278, near Wat Langka, Top Banana is a lively rooftop bar that is well worth a visit. With live entertainment regularly taking over the venue, this bar is often bustling well into the early hours.
Street 278 is also home to Phnom Penh’s stalwart rock bar, Zeppelin Café, which relocated from its Street 51 venue last year. The popular bar tends to get busier in the later hours, so it’s a great spot where you can finish off the night.
If you want to hang out with the cool crowd, then head to vibrant Bassac Lane where a cute collection of bars serve everything from local beer to imported and craft beverages. If you’re into bikes, then check out Hangar 44, which doubles up as Moto Cambodge’s showroom.
An upmarket dive bar, Red Bar sits around the corner from Bassac Lane on Street 308. Popular with the city’s media bodies, this relaxed hangout serves $1 beers, cheap cocktails, and wine. And if you’re hungry, they let you order from one of the many restaurants on Street 308 and eat indoors.
Botanico is the go-to place for fans of bespoke beers. American brewsters, who serve their own blends under the label Cerevisia, as well as other craft beers, own this leafy beer garden. The tranquil haven also serves snacks and a range of other drinks.