Best Bars in Phnom Penh: Your guide to nightlife and the clubs of Cambodia’s best bar scene
Are you Cambodia bound and looking for the best bars in Phnom Penh? Okay, so just when you thought you had committed to the same music and faces, prepare your senses for a treat as you hit Cambodia’s capital city. Let us help you on your journey into the splendid chaos that is Phnom Penh.
Our guide to Phnom Penh Best Bars Night Clubs & Nightlife (CAMBODIA UPDATED FOR 2017)
What can we say about Phnom Penh’s best bars, the club and nightlife scene in Cambodia’s capital city? Lets start with the music. The ‘Penh’ music scene is constantly growing as the amount of local talent increases. Here you can find an endless array of live music that ranges from alternative rock, hip hop, dub step to reggae, just to name a few. Top artists are also known to have played in clubs like Pontoon and Nova.
The backpacker bars around BKK1 and down the Riverside are the places to be, because this is where a majority of backpacker hostels are located. So, if you want to mix it up and let your hair down then BKK1 should be your first stop when visiting Phnom Penh.
Contrary to popular belief, we recommend spending at least two nights in the city if you want to do the capital justice.
With the large array of music options and an overly free and liberal attitude, the Cambodian penchant for friendliness combined with your intent on a night of revelry should make for a fabulous night out.
Here are some of our recommended backpacker clubs, of course we had to recommend ourselves, but there are many choices, so don’t be afraid to discover new places on your own!
Best bars in Phnom Penh’s BKK1
Finding your way around BKK1 is easy, because this is the area where the majority of backpacker bars and hostels are located.
Mini Banana’s Hostel Bar
The Mini Banana, located opposite from the Blue Dog Bar and behind The Urban Patio Hotel, is an ideal place to hang out during day or early evening. The bar is known for its small and intimate setting where many of Phnom Penh’s hipster expats hanging out. There area also clean and comfortable dorms/private rooms you can chose from.
The White Rabbit Hostel Bar
The White Rabbit a small and intimate bar with excellent service, friendly staff and a cool vibe. The bar also serves food connected to the hostel, which is located on Street 294. The White Rabbit also has accommodations are are comfortable and relatively inexpensive.
The Mad Monkey – Rooftop Bar and funky hostel
The Mad Monkey, located on Street 302, is a large rooftop backpackers’ bar with large glass windows and a popular game room where you can find anything from Foosball to beer pong. The Mad Monkey is the largest hostel in the BKK1 area with almost 200 beds. The Mad Monkey is a great place to start out and meet other backpackers. The downstairs restaurant is also one of the busiest in the area and is very popular with expats and locals.
The party usually gets started around 7 p.m., and continues until 11 p.m., where the crowds will normally follow the route to Street 51 and 278.
Top Banana Bar
The Top Banana is one of the best bars you will find and for many different reasons. The Top Banana serves as an institution in Phnom Penh, and also provides clean rooms and dorms, as well as a very active bar.
The bar closes at midnight and draws a mixed and lively crowd of expats, locals, backpackers and models.
Duplex Club & Bar
The Duplex, located on Street 278, is known to serve the best Belgium beer, and often hosts live music and salsa dancing nights. The Duplex sits opposite the Top Banana and is downstairs from Club Love.
Beer is served cold and the bar has a friendly staff. There is always a happy atmosphere, but the bar can get busy with events as it’s very popular with backpackers, locals and expats.
Club Love – Nightclub in BKK1 District for backpackers
Club Love is a partnership between some of the most popular bars and backpacker clubs in the area, and provides a local late night drinking center for visitors around BKK1. DJ’s are known to play during the weekends, and the club is usually busy every night of the week.
Playlists range from an elective mix of music designed to get the party going, and again if you are visiting Phnom Penh as a backpacker then this is your clubbing central prior to heading downtown.
What to expect in BKK1’s night life district
BKK1 is the main backpacker area outside of Riverside, however, unlike riverside it does not have very many “girly bars” or escort bars. It’s usually for that reason that the BKK1 area tends to be a favorite place to stay for female backpackers.
This is also a great area for expats and locals that come to the BKK1 district for a funky night out. There are plenty of great restaurants around that we have not covered in this article. This is the area that you will find Phnom Penh’s hipster crowd, as it’s relaxed, informal and friendly.
The Riverside Area Nightlife
The Riverside area is full of bars, as it is considered the city’s capital night spot. The Riverside area starts at Street 104 and goes up to Street 138.
The area along Sisowath Quay is normally pretty safe with loads of great bars and clubs to choose from, but if you happen to stray into the girly bar area late at night you are more at risk to get your bag snatched, so please be careful!
The Lounge at Riverhouse – Swanky DJ Nightclub
Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
The Lounge at Riverhouse is one of the longest running nightclubs in the city. It is set in a French colonial building where you can either sip your drink on the balcony overlooking Tonle Sapriver, or get cocooned at the Lounge. They have live DJ’s every night and feature International DJ’s once a month. The menu and drinks are moderately priced.
36Eo, 178 Street, Phnom Penh
If you are a member of the LGBT community, this place is right up your alley! Blue Chiliis is located behind the National Museum, and is known as one of the best gay bars in town. Here you’ll typically meet locals and foreigners who party hard.
134 Street 136, Phnom Penh
This is also a popular hangout place for the LGBT community. Rainbow Bar offers karaoke, drag and RNB shows every night. On weekends you might just catch the glam re-enactments from popular Khmer soap operas.
Foreign Correspondence Club – Bar overlooking the river
363 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
The FCC is a historic building turned into a trendy bar and cafe that overlooks the Tonle Sap as it meets into the Mekong Delta. Its rooftop bar has one of the best views of Riverside with ongoing live music. While the food is a bit pricey as are the drinks, the view makes it all worth while.
The Rooftop Bar at The Quay Hotel
This bar is known for its elegant and classy atmosphere, and has arguably better views than the FCC, as well as better food for more reasonable prices. This small intimate bar can hold up to 100 people and can get busy during the weekends.
Paddy Rice English / Irish Pub
The Paddy Rice is an English/Irish bar located on the corner of Street 136 and Sisowath Quay. It’s known more for it’s pub like qualities and is a great place to eat with reasonable prices. Paddy Rice is about as close to a traditional pub as you will be able to find in Cambodia.
Bar and Clubs on Street 51
The Heart of Darkness Nightclub
Situated in the central area of the city, The Heart of Darkness is a popular bar with both locals, expats and backpackers. The music varies from cheesy favorites to the latest tunes depending on who the DJ is that night.
White Cobra Late Night Bar
The White Cobra is a small independently run bar just opposite the Pontoon in Phnom Penh. The service is friendly and beers are inexpensive, which makes it a popular spot for the French crowd.
Pontoon Night Club Phnom Penh – Street 51
Without doubt, Pontoon is the daddy of the Phnom Penh club scene. The club is open until the early hours of morning. Pontoon is known to attract some of the best DJ talent around and has a buzzing crowd almost every night of the week.
Other Areas of The City
Show Box Live Music Bar
26 302, Phnom Penh
Show Box is right next to TuolSleng Genocide Museum, and is a great place for alternative music and the art scenes. Head here if you want to immerse yourself in local music.
The Khmer Beer Gardens
The best way to drink with the Khmers is through different Khmer Beer Gardens spread out throughout the city. A pitch of beer only costs $1.50. The best way to let your guard down is to enjoy some fun karaoke with the natives.
Tipsy Tuk Tuk Tours
If you are a party addict who would rather hop from one funky bar to another in a single night, we recommend you check out Tipsy TukTuks. This is the equivalent to pub crawls known mostly in European countries and other popular Asian beach destinations. The organizer taps the best bars in town and brings you there, eventually bar hoping from one to another. It starts at Sundance Inn on 172 every Friday night.
Eclipse Sky Bar
Phnom Penh. 455, Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh Tower, Sangkat, Phnom Penh
Prepare to spend a few more dollars here for your drinks. Eclipse Sky Bar is on the 23rd floor and is considered the highest rooftop bar and restaurant in the city. It has also won the 2014 People Choice Award for “The Best Sky Bar.”
More Information About Phnom Penh Bars and Nightlife
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of bars in Phnom Penh, as there are many more great bars in town that we have neglected to mention, however, there are useful guides and information about the throbbing head inducing party scene in Phnom Penh at www.phnompenhnightlife.com , http://www.leboost-cambodia.com and http://www.nightlifetripper.com
This article was only meant as a teaser for your enjoyment so make sure you have fun, and if you have enjoyed this article please consider sharing and liking it so it helps other people find the relevant information.