1. Miss Wong’s
Easily the most atmospheric and seductive bar in Siem Reap, Miss Wong has tastefully managed to pull of a delicate 1920s vintage Shanghai decor without being too over-the-top. The cherry red lamps on the outside and its plush leather booths inside make for just the right proportion of different from the rest of pub street to make it the perfect inner-city hideaway.
The bar also offers an excellent selection of cocktails which most will argue is the best one can find in town. They make their cocktails infusing local ingredients that give their drinks a uniquely refreshing twist. Their cocktails also have a reputation for being quite potent. Try their Lemongrass Martini or Mango Daiquiri.
Asana is probably the most laid back of the bars in Siem reap, and for good reason. It makes for the perfect place to relax and kick back after a day-long temple run. Set in the oldest surviving wooden house in the old town, Asana is most well known for its Khmer cocktails which was pioneered by the bar’s charming owner, Pari. In Pari’s words, a Khmer cocktail should have at least two to three local spices infused in the drinks, and boy, do they taste good.
The bar also features a Khmer Cocktail Workshop where for $15, Pari or her younger sister La La will teach you how to make four of their signature Khmer cocktails in a setting that is both relaxed and educational. It’s great value – four drinks and a one-of-a-kind experience for just $15.
Address: Street 7 – The Lane
3. Picasso Bar
Nestled in the alleyway of Pub Street, Picasso is the sort of bar you go to meet other travelers. Its U shaped bar counter is the focal point around which the bar’s patrons sit and talk across the bar and well pretty much in all directions giving it the ‘family gathering’ vibe to it – Picasso is quite charming that way. The vaulted ceilings and brick walls adds to the touch.
The bar owner Phil is a friendly welcoming gentleman who is more than happy to make introductions, serve up happy drinks between 5 – 9 pm and makes for a great bar personality type that makes you like a place that much more. If you’re in town, this little hideaway deserves to go on your list.
Address: Alley West, Pub Street Alley
Located by the riverside in an airy spacious property which was once the French Governor’s house is the FCC Angkor, the prim and proper chap amidst pub streets more laid back, thumping bars. There’s plenty of seating options in this rather large establishment. Evenings by the garden is the perfect place to relax with a cold beer, or lunch from its second floor restaurant overlooking the main street and the river is a good spot for a hot afternoon.
You will find a decent selection of Asian and Western fare with a range of cocktails and a good selection of wine.
If you’re looking to get a drink at a chatty spot, look no further. Charlie’s, quite hard to miss with a chopper hanging out the front entrance, is a great spot to be at. Situated on a popular street corner in Pub Street, Charlie’s doesn’t offer anything extraordinary in terms of the drinks and food selection, however, the atmosphere makes this a great place. The staff will make you feel comfortable and are quite the outgoing types themselves.
The outside seating area features a typical American diner seating area while the interior is where the bar sits with lots of American memorabilia – an old neon lit coca cola sign and a pin ball machine to name a few. It’s definitely a little piece of America in Siem Reap.
6. Mezze Lounge
This part oriental part middle eastern bar is the sassy new boy in town. Situated on the second floor of a typical shop house in the old market area, Mezee is anything but typical. The interiors are lavishly decorated with lush seating areas, dim lighting and contemporary art, giving the bar a hint of seduction. Mezze also presents a spectacular session of belly dancing three evenings a week.
The bar is known for its range of signature cocktails and Asian fusion tapas making it quite unique from most bars in town.
Address: Street 11, 3A, 1st floor, Siem Reap
The latest addition to the bar scene in Siem Reap, Hard Rock Cafe is to some that dreaded indicator of the death of the small-town innocence and charm of Siem Reap. Nevertheless, it’s a great addition to Siem Reap, offering local residents and travelers yet another dine and drinks option.
They serve food from all over the world. Prices are not cheap but perhaps might be worthwhile to settle into something familiar. The bar features a live band that plays all evening. Its located on a large building by the river right beside King’s Road Angkor, its hard to miss.
8. Island Bar
Situated behind a busy night market, the Island bar is a natural stop after a walk through the often crowded night market. Its almost a intentional metaphor. An island from the sea of vendors trying to sell you a $2 shirt or a $2 massage, the Island Bar offers much relief. This bar offers an excellent spot from where you can sit and people watch as you sip to your favorite drink, making its entry into the backstreet guide to the best bars in Siem Reap.
The drinks here are reasonably priced and happy hours start at 4 pm – 8 pm.
Address: Angkor Night Market, Sivatha Street
So here it is, the backstreet guide to the best bars in Siem Reap. If you think we’ve missed out any new players in town, let us know in the comments section. 😉
For a guide to the best bars in Phnom Penh, check out this comprehensive guide featuring old and new institutions that are defining a new age of bar culture in the capital city.