As the majority of backpackers end up staying in the area around riverside due to the amount of cheap guesthouses there, it’s quite common that most of the places they hangout in are around that area. But Riverside is definitely one of the least interesting in the city considering the type of dodgy bars you’ll find there… Phnom Penh has a lot to explore, and the nightlife scene is vibrant and filled with places for every taste!
Evening drink on The Mansion.
For an evening drink, there’s a new rooftop bar just across the street from Russian Market with the perfect environment. Check out Sun Down Social Club for a cocktail or a beer with the typical sunset light of Phnom Penh falling on you. Also perfect for that hour, Showbox on street 330 has free beer from 6.30 to 7pm (you buy one and get as many free refills as you want for half hour!) Besides that, it’s one of the most eclectic places in Phnom Penh, with a good mixture of expats and locals, a famous open mic and live music session every Wednesday and a great artistic vibe. For dinner you can try the recently open Containers Market which is exactly what the name says, a bunch of cargo containers refurbished as cool restaurants and eating spots.
If the budget allows and your preference is unique and “high class” places to have a drink, check out Chinese House on Sisowath Quay (the boulevard along the river) which is probably the most beautiful building in the whole city, an old Chinese shop house recovered but maintaining its old charm. For another old building, The Mansion near Royal Palace is a beautiful (but not so recovered) villa hosting a bar, an exhibition space and live music, highly recommended as well.
Near Russian Market there’s also Alchemy with cocktail parties, live music and painting, dj sets and a delicious menu for those middle of night appetites. Not so far away, on street 440, the Cool Lounge is a social enterprise where your drinks and good time will be supporting a social project. And one of our favorites is Led Zeppelin on street 278, a simple and friendly place to hang out with friends or meet new people.
For the ones looking for a good night of dancing, try Pontoon on street 172 (especially its Pulse room, with a high quality dj selection) or Madhouse and Reggae rooftop just across the street (both with free entrance). Nearby there’s also Heart of Darkness in case you are into more mainstream music (and they probably have one of the best sound systems in the city), or if you are willing to go to other areas of the city you can find Club Love on street 278 (quite popular with backpackers), Epic club just besides the Containers Market (more fancy and expensive but worth the experience for one night!), Che Culo for rock’n’roll parties or even Arena club on south of Monivong, which is a 100% Khmer club with energetic local music and full of lasers. As a bonus, they have a promotion of paying 2.5 dollars for unlimited beer, and so many locals will be surprised to see a foreigner that they will always come to you for making cheers… enough reasons for a funny and unforgettable night!
So if you are spending some nights in Phnom Penh and want to explore its nightlife, find cool spots to hangout or spend some hours dancing, we hope this list gave you some suggestions for you to make the most of it. Have a good night and enjoy your time here 🙂