Where to go for drinks off Pub Street
What we say:
Siem Reap is not a town you’ll struggle to find a drink in — just ask the expats. Pub Street, as the name would suggest, is full of restaurants and bars catering to the tourist throngs, but you can also live it up a little or sip cocktails in a slightly classier ambiance if you step just a few metres away from Pub Street. Here are some of our recommended watering holes in Pub Street’s surrounds.
A staple on the Siem Reap social scene, Miss Wong’s expanded in 2013. Decor harks back to a vintage Shanghai; it’s kitted out with seductive red lanterns and dark leather. With a fabulous drinks list all the classics are done well alongside more creative cocktail infusions. We’ve drunk flavours that recall liquid cinnamon cheesecake and even an alcohol-allergic friend of ours caves in here to savour their offerings. This is a bar you can sit down in comfortably, hear everyone talk and enjoy a tipple or few. Though you’ll be coming here for the cocktails if you do get hungry, dim sum, hot pot and noodles feature on the concise menu.
Asana means ‘old wooden house’ in Khmer, and that’s where you’ll find it. Tucked down one of the little alleys off The Lane is this delightful retreat – it’s only a matter of metres from Miss Wong’s. Rice sacks have been stuffed with feathers to make for comfortable cushions and the natural wooden finish of a traditional Khmer house makes for a quirky and memorable Cambo-themed setting. Asana also runs Khmer-inspired cocktail classes daily, which may well appeal if you’ve already taken a cooking class in Southeast Asia.
The Yellow Submarine
If it’s been a hard day’s night, fun and funky The Yellow Submarine can help you out. A seemingly never ending multi-storey building, the multiple-level bar is not hard to miss – only a couple of shops down from Miss Wong’s – with its bright yellow paint and ‘Penny Lane’ road sign stuck outside. This Beatles-inspired bar is on the pricey side for Pub Street, but makes up for this with character. There’s the downstairs narrow bar, spacious pool room and rooftop veranda with views over the city. The burgers are tasty here too. Oh, and it has air-con inside, which is a bit of a rarity in the bars in Siem Reap.
Heritage Suites Hotel
A top-class boutique hotel first and foremost, Heritage Suites mixes up top class jazz nights every Thursday evening and caters primarily to the expat crowd. Lively live music has the punters tapping their toes and occasionally dancing in full swing by the end of the night. Happy hour lasts all night at the hotel, located next to Wat Polanka. Alternatively, head over to Park Hyatt on a Friday night for their happy hour. A more formal ambiance, they similarly serve up cocktails muddled with live jazz.
This bar is actually complete, despite the name. Formerly a beer garden, this Western-run spacious restaurant/bar on Wat Bo Road is open late. We’d also recommend it for the affordable and tasty food. The vibe is waaaay more casual than the offerings above — come here for a beer with mates. It has some larger tables for big group gatherings both in the outdoor garden space, with a projector screen for film nights and in the semi-open covered area.
The cocktails at the bars listed above (asides from Under Construction, which is a little more economical) cost more or less around the US$4.50-$6 mark; if you’re on a very, very tight budget savour one then pop over to backpackery Angkor Famous in downtown Siem Reap, where plastic chairs and cocktails are just US$1.50 with free popcorn await.
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