Sports bars in Phnom Penh

What we say: 3.5 stars

Rumour has it there are one or two big events coming up in the world of sport — if riverside badminton and Khmer boxing aren’t enough for you, here’s a roundup of where you can catch all the kicking, running, jumping and throwing action on screen in Phnom Penh.

So good, they named it twice!

So good, they named it twice!

Top of the league as far as concept goes, Score Bar has more framed shirts than you can poke a hockey stick at, a very big screen indeed (5.8m by 4.5m) and wait staff in umpire shirts. We’d have to give them an occasional yellow card for service — on busy nights, queuing at the bar and waiting to buy beer makes you feel like you’ve left Asia for one of those more ‘developed’ countries where they don’t do waitress service. Instead, buy a tower of beer for your table to avoid missing the action. If it’s all going horribly wrong for your team, console yourself with a win on one of the four pool tables instead.

Tucked away just off Norodom Boulevard, Gym Bar has been recently refurbished by the new manager, with deep red and pale blue walls that look like a favourite strip. The team sheet has all the fan favourites: there’s air-con, plenty of screens, comfy leather-cushioned bar chairs and memorabilia to keep you guessing — Where exactly is Histon? And if the rugby ball is that big, what size were the players? The pub grub menu of burgers, fries and sandwiches is well executed, and it’s an unusual treat looking for the L in a BLT, rather than hunting through cheap and plentiful salad materials to find the B. The crowd tends to be sporty, of course, but not too rowdy — more interested in talking tactics than chanting abuse.

The perennial combination - beer and sport

The perennial combination -- beer and sport.

On the riverside, Paddy Rice has 24-hour opening for key sporting fixtures, so you need never miss that synchronised housekeeping (aka curling) semi-final again. With a good selection of beer and cocktails, plus a menu that features pies, scotch eggs and jacket potatoes, you can keep your strength up during the tie-breaks. A couple of blocks down, on a street more known for another kind of pastime (‘horizontal dancing’ hasn’t yet made it into the Olympics), the Pickled Parrot doesn’t have quite as many channels as some of the others, but makes up for it with air-con and a slate pool table.

If getting up on a bar stool makes you out of breath or you’re inspired by on-screen athletes, get busy at one of Phnom Penh’s gyms.

Gym Bar
42 Street 178, Phnom Penh
T: 016 462 532

Score Bar
5 Street 282, Phnom Penh
T: 023 221 357

Paddy Rice
213-217 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
T: 017 773 102

Pickled Parrot
4-6 Street 104, Phnom Penh
T: 023 986 722

(In case you were wondering, Histon FC are based in a village just outside Cambridge, UK and play in the top tier of non-league football. Impress your friends!)

About the author
Abigail has been stoned by villagers in India, become an honorary Kenyan tribeswoman, sweet talked border guards and had close encounters with black mambas. Her motto is: “Live to tell the tale.”
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