Phnom Penh is a beer-drinking town. The bustling in-your-face capital of Cambodia lying beside the Mekong is always hot and thirsty. Perfect for warm weather refreshment of icy-cold beer washed down at great prices.
Phnom Penh is the Asia of weathered French colonial buildings and noisy streets. Just the place to see saffron cloaked monks mixing it with micro stores, repairers and markets that compete with business centers, bistros, and bars. A city centered by its shimmering golden Royal Palace, breezy Sisowath Quay and glorious art deco Central Market. Everything moves to the buzz – remarques (tuk tuks) and motor cycles and happy people living in a city on the rise yet still reflecting the romance of Conrad and the dark days of the Khmer Rouge.
Yes, Phnom Penh is a perfect location to enjoy a bevvie or two. Here, draft beer is most often Angkor, the national beer – a watery brew that will set you back about 65c per glass and $2 jugs all day at legendary eateries such as the Blue Dolphin and Suny in 172 Street. Other popular local brews include Cambodia and Anchor, not be confused with the better tasting Angkor. Tiger is available by the bottle but on tap at more upmarket bars. Beerlao is by bottle. Bayon is brewed in Sihanoukville as is Black Panther stout and Klang, a powerful pale larger; and Gold Crown.
Bars like the Black Cat, Plan B and Legends 51 feature $4 draft beers but are cheaper during ‘happy hour’ which runs from bar to bar from about 5pm – 7pm and sometimes later. Beer is available at most eateries and supermarkets – 70c for a can, $1.20 for a bottle – as well as most of the 437 hotels serving Phnom Penh where you can expect to pay $3.50 – $7 depending on your tipple.
If you like your beer yeasty you can enjoy a craft brew at the stylish Hops Craft Beer Garden featuring the Golden Angel lager, similar to a German pilsner; fruity Amber Witch wheat beer, full-bodied Red Fury Stout and a dark Indian Pale Ale. Costs start at $2.50 to $4 for a 0.175 litre ‘tester’.
Upmarket ‘speakeasy’ style bars, bistros and restaurants in trendy Bassac Lane have a range of local and imported beers starting at $4 while popular sky bars like Eclipse and the Frangipani Royal Palace offer romantic views of the river and ‘happy hour’ priced cocktails at $4.50, spirits at $4, beer at $3.
Of course, no visit to Phnom Penh is complete without a beer at the legendary Foreign Correspondents Club. An institution for journalists and travelers since 1993. Hard to pass for a late afternoon beer shared with friends, kicking back and watching the world go by.