Phnom Penh Pub Page – December 2014

I wanted to start off this month’s pub page with another string of excuses- bad weather – too drunk – no new bars – no old bars – broken laptop – Hunchback hit me too many times in the head with a cricket bat and I now permanently concussed…. Etc., but I was just too lazy to think of anything new, original or even remotely realistic. So I took the easy way out and went drinking.
More waiting is in order as Templar is still not ready to serve me alcohol – I was very disappointed as I was having a lot of trouble thinking of anywhere else that could possibly provide me a refreshing alcoholic beverage but there it is – not open – but the sign was up last time I walked by – clearly moving ahead.

I found a new bar that was perfectly named – Cute & Cozy Bar is on, crap – I was so drunk I forgot to write what street this bar is on – give me a minute – ok – it is on 118 st in the space that used to be Nice Smile Bar I think – beside the convenience store across the corner from Dream. They have done a serious upgrade and the current bar is much nicer looking inside – in fact it is quite cute & cozy – I think it was named for the décor as opposed to the staff but opinions on this subject may vary J. Actually the staff were very friendly but I was too drunk to focus on them as I was trying my best to focus on the beer in front of me so they may be very cute & cozy for all I know. I was very pleased with the low key vibe in the place. I got quick service and was able to maintain a conversation without being drowned out by either the music or miscellaneous screeches. Did not hang out there too long because I was really not coping too well with sitting in one place but I will certainly try again once my liver has recovered.

I somehow found another new bar on 172 St – Black Pearl is actually one of the nicer looking hostess bars I have been in lately. It is roomy and comfortable with, what I thought were cool, metallic tables. Really looked pretty nice. There was a pool table and a couple of dart boards and best of all, they seemed to offer food – always a nice distraction – although I wonder if they will soon offer lady plates in addition to lady drinks – after having seen staff consume far more lady drinks than they should, will the next iteration of this be consuming too many fried rice and chicken plates that customers buy for poor hungry staff? I can hear the canny mercenary minds at Skirts thinking how this could be implemented with food from the Pub. Perhaps there could be a prize for the girl who eats the most Sunday roasts plates….

Back to the Pearl (in my best Captain Jack Sparrow voice – admittedly that imitation would have sounded better to me if I was still drunk) – the staff was friendly and service was good. Best of all, the staff did not make a pain of themselves which was much appreciated. Did I say the bar looked really nice?? Most drinks seemed to be $3.5, tiger draft was $1.5 and beer prices seemed reasonable for a hostess bar.

Stumbling out of the Pearl (I still want to do a pirate voice), I saw Nice Start bar which had a prominent “For Sale” sign. This seemed to suggest that it was not a nice start after all or that perhaps there was no staying power… despite having already gone to a few bars on the street already, I decided to have a fresh start to my evening here. I should say that I have worked in and essentially lived in bars for a good portion of my life – many an evening have I been around at closing time and watched the staff shuffle around while they waited patiently for the last customers to move on. Despite this bar being fairly busy, there was a bit of bar closing vibe to it. Staff were friendly – in some cases too friendly – but there was a bar is closing vibe to the place (I know I know – the sign did give it away but I have to play up my bar expertise once in a while or the Evil Publisher will realize he could hire any old monkey to write this article). Anyway – will probably not rush back.

For the great and powerful Possum, I decided I had to try Lovely Jubbly bar on St 19 just north of St 172. Not my usual hangout, this is clearly a backpacker dive (clearly identified if there was any doubt by the giant blackboard with bus schedules at the entrance) but actually a very nice one. A grey streamlined décor – brightly lit – good tunes – very friendly staff – towers of beer were $7, jugs were $3.5 and the food looked good. There was a pool table in the back and a public computer to use at the bar. On the night I came by the place was not very busy but there were a few small groups of what seemed to be back packers lounging about – sorry Possum – no jubblies on the menu.

I walked by Alice’s Pub did not go in but the sign saying that the staff were super friendly seemed born out as a kid sitting outside started screaming hello and waving as I walked by. The woman, who I guess was her mom, could not stop laughing as the kid got more energetic in her greetings. I was too drunk to be around friendly kids (who can be a bit annoying if you are not in the mood) but I will try the place for a future pub page. By the way I was too drunk to know what street I was on but I will do a better report when I actually drink there.

That is about it for this month – from the Golden Sorya Mall – it seems that big changes are in the works – most of the businesses seem to have closed including the reasonably popular Mao in the courtyard. They seem to consolidating a number of the units into larger spaces and there are rumors that nightclubs or bars will be taking these spaces over. If new bars open – the pub page will be there.