4 Sophisticated Phnom Penh Bars
In the city of the 50-cent pint, Street 308 in Tonle Bassac is making its mark as the sophisticated soul of Phnom Penh's nightlife. Nicole Saunders saunters from bar to bar.
Published on Sep 11, 2015
1. Hangar 44
The Norbert-Munns brothers are undoubtedly Phnom Penh's "It" boys when it comes to chic upmarket establishments, and Hangar 44 is their micro-bar baby. The space, which oozes both class and masculinity (check out the custom-built motorbike suspended from the ceiling) spills out onto Bassac Lane, which the Kiwi owners dominate with a handful of some of the most sophisticated bars that the city has to offer. Revel in good old-fashioned people watching—this is where all the hip expats hang out—or head upstairs and cozy up to someone special in the dimly lit lounge area. Bassac Lane (off Street 308); +855 77 960 413.
A motorbike swings from the ceiling at Hangar 44. Courtesy of Hangar 44.
2. Chez Flo
Fans of fromage should head to this swank smack in the middle of Street 308 for the mouth-watering cheese and charcuterie platters, alongside an equally French wine list. Gregarious owner and Lyon native Flo Montmeat has designed his menu for urbane travelers who don't want to break the bank—but do want their custommixed "Flojitos" with a side of pre-war French family lore. The airy atmosphere evokes a springtime jardin, and brings a polished pinch of Paris to the chaotic capital. 37 Street 308; facebook.com/chezflophnompenh.
Airy Chez Flo. Courtesy of Chez Flo.
3. Mama Wong's
In a city with an abundance of no-frills Chinese eateries, Mama Wong's is a stylish breath of fresh air. Follow the red glow of Chinese lanterns to this hot spot for authentic Chinese dishes with a contemporary twist. Chefs work in an open kitchen where melt-in-your-mouth noodles are hand-pulled right before your eyes. Their dumplings and savory small dishes are perfect for sharing while sampling a signature cocktail. Alfresco diners can soak up the sultry Phnom Penh evening air, watching while tuk-tuks and motodops weave their way down the narrow street. 41 Street 308; +855 97 850 8383.
Finger food at Mama Wong's. Courtesy of Mama Wong's.
4. Bistrot Bassac
Another decidedly French affair, this is an art gallery, restaurant, and coffee bar, all rolled into one trendy dining destination. Drawing inspiration from vintage and industrial designs, the décor is all kinds of cool. From beef tartare with fries to a mean cappuccino, this hip eatery does the simple things and does them well. Bistro Bassac's chalkboard menu is revived and reinvented all the time to keep the regulars guessing. And for atmosphere, just glance at the walls adorned with rotating exhibitions of work by local and international artists, or head to the open rooftop for bird's-eye views of the bustling lane below. 38 Street 308; +855 70 902 021.
The dinner crowd at Bistrot Bassac. Courtesy of Bistrot Bassac.