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BEWARE: Sharky's Bar in Phnom Penh!

Posted by MKMike on 17/2/2012 at 02:15

This is to inform you all of a horrendous experience i had at this bar in Phnom Penh. Me and a friend are visiting Cambodia and we have been here for a bit over 2 weeks, so we are getting a bit bored and looking for things to do at night. We hear about this place Sharky's Bar, and that its a decent bar, boy were we wrong. We started off by wanting to play a little pool, so we get to it and play like 3 games, then as theres not much going on here, we decide to leave. As we pay our bill, an older waitress comes up and says we need to pay for the pool games we played, and then shows us the tickets she carries that shes supposed to give before you play, as we had no idea about this, we thought it was wrong of them and we told them that we werent going to pay (it was only 1000 riehl a game, but it was the point of the matter) Then she points to a small piece of paper hidden above the wall that says 1000 riel per game. I am feeling like this is a scam, so i decide to just walk out. Then as we get down the stairs, we hear someone yell down to stop, and then all the tuk tuk guys congregating downstairs proceed to literally slam the metal doors in front of us and lock us in! Then this old British guy( the owner presumable) starts getting in our face and telling us that if we dont pay, we are going to jail, and that we'll have to pay 1000 dollars to get out, and he grabs our arm and starts calling me a **** multiple times because i said what he was doing was wrong and it was a scam to do that without us knowing. I mean this guy was obviously very drunk and beligerent and we were quite frightened because there were at least 10 other khmer guys that maybe were working for him that were just circling us. I tell the guys to send me to jail orwhatever, but im not paying that 3000 riel i dont care what. My friend gets nervous and says he'll pay, the guy shakes his hand and says, oh youre ok but your friend is a ******* ****! Really? Is this the kind of behavior an owner of a bar is supposed to display? Threatening and physically locking us in, and calling us names, and to top it off actually trying to grab us and intimidate us? DO NOT FREQUENT THIS PLACE. The owner is a terrible person who should be locked up for wrongful kidnapping and battery. this guy is a real piece of work. If he had just explained his position kindly i wouldve had no problem paying him his 75 cents but this was just ridiculous.

#1 MKMike has been a member since 17/2/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by eastwest on 17/2/2012 at 03:09

I have to defend Sharkys here

I've been a few times to this place and never had a problem. Waitresses, managers and owners have always been very correct to me and all customers. R 1000 per game is correct yes (I've paid that many times for a game there) and you really think they would actually think up a scam to gain an enormous amount of..... $0.75?

That last thing you mention about the doors and the drivers sounds pretty over the top but my guess is that you wanted to dramatize things to warrant the bad review.

Really, the place is not bad at all and they recently have been much stricter with allowing working girls in and turned it more into a music bar with live gigs. For me still one of the best western style bars in PP and a favorite haunt for loud rock music, cold beer, decent service and a game of pool. I'm not always in the mood for that but if I am Sharkys is the first stop of the evening (followed by a visit to Zeppelin cafe). And the 9-ball table is probably one of the best pool tables in PP. 1000 riel is a bargain for that.

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Posted by sayadian on 17/2/2012 at 05:44

I live in Phnom Penh and although I know of Sharkey's I don't go there.What I'd like to add is that it's a really bad move to get into a situation like this in Cambodia.IF there was any shouting involved it can set off a chain of events which can soon get out of control.If Security and the Tuk'tuk drivers got involvrd yoo are lucky you didn't get a beatin and if that happened what recourse would you have? The police? They're a joke.Really, for the sake of 3000 real or your priniples you put yourself in danger.take my advice,walk away.it's not worth a week in hospital.

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Posted by MKMike on 17/2/2012 at 06:02

my point is basically I wanted to talk to him and understand but before i could get in a word he just blew up and had his henchmen lock the doors on us and get very confrontational and threatening. I would avoid this place as i have never had any problem of this sort in asia and am actually quite a mild mannered guy that is very reasonable. And as far as exaggerating, trust me, I wrote that exactly as it happened, maybe even left out a few things that he did which were quite uncalled for also..

#4 MKMike has been a member since 17/2/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by sayadian on 17/2/2012 at 20:48

don't get me wrong I admire your principles but you have to be a bit more practical here.A girl I know here took a tuk-tuk and lost her temper because he took her to the wrong place.She started shouting at him.He, in turn, lost his temper because she was shouting and without warning got off the bike and hit her so hard it broke her nose.Nobody took the blindest bit of notice.Your a foreigner nobody is going to stick up for you.I'd just hate to see you get into trouble because if these people lose face and lose their temper they really go to town and can be extremely vicious.Saying that most of the time the Khmer are pretty mild-mannered.Just try and stay cool and you'll be OK.I doubt this was a scam, you just didn't notice the sign but, yes, Cambodia is full of scams and over-pricing of foreigners.Complain and refuse to pay extra with a smile on your face and normally they get embarrased and back down but shouting is taboo here and can get you in all sorts of trouble.It's OTT but there you are it's Cambodia.

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Posted by sayadian on 17/2/2012 at 20:58

Addendum:
Reading your post maybe you didn't have a shouting match but it was a confrontation so there was danger.Take care of yourself.

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Posted by eastwest on 17/2/2012 at 21:08

I agree with you sayadian and I think you give the guy too much attention. I think he's just a troll.
He had a bad experience, partly because of himself (as I said the 1000R is normal there), and then starts posting a bad review while never on this site. Most likely he told them he thought it was a scam and that would have lighted the fire.
You can say much about Cambodians but if they scam they try a scam for much more money than a lousy $0.75

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Posted by MADMAC on 17/2/2012 at 22:16

Rule number one in SEA - be polite. It gets you a long way here, and the inverse is also true, being impolite can get you killed. It is probably the single biggest difference between western society and Asian society. Even though I am a gruff, sometimes arrogant little dickhead, I am always polite here and it has carried me a long way. I have another friend here who is really a much nicer person than I am, and has lived in Thailand a very long time, but he can't help but be confrontational and call people out when they are trying some little deceit. It ALWAYS gets him into difficulty, but it's something he can't let go of. Even if it doesn't apply in this particular case, it's important to remmember you have to allow people here their little face saving lies. Calling them on it can not have a happy outcome.

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Posted by giblet on 17/2/2012 at 23:45

"You can say much about Cambodians but if they scam they try a scam for much more money than a lousy $0.75"

That is not true by any stretch of the imagination. There's a girl at one of the Lucky stores that ALWAYS shorts me 500 riel when giving back my change. Another at a restaurant on my street that I go to all the time. Maybe you wouldn't call that a scam and just stealing. Same difference, in my book.

#9 giblet has been a member since 29/11/2010. Posts: 39

Posted by sayadian on 18/2/2012 at 00:06

Gilet
have you shown her your change and politely pointed out the error.remember a lot of people out here can't count.theyre basically unschooled.
Madmac
I agree let them have their 'face'.I'm a Westerner the concept means nothing to me.Most situatios that are getting out of hand can be defused by a'wai' or .som pee as they call it here and an apology.This gives them 'face' and you lose yoors.but,hey, who cares.Better than taking a beating.

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Posted by giblet on 18/2/2012 at 00:10

Yes, of course I do. And I can tell when it's an honest mistake (which it often is) and when it's not.

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Posted by DLuek on 18/2/2012 at 05:15 TF writer

"...we thought it was wrong of them and we told them that we werent going to pay (it was only 1000 riehl a game, but it was the point of the matter)"

Lesson 1:
Never make a big deal out of being (possibly) scammed for pocket change. Just pay it, forget it, and move on. "Taking a stand" in a situation like this is just plain idiotic. First it sounds like it wasn't actually a scam, but even if it was is 75 cents worth ending up in a hospital, jail or worse?

"Is this the kind of behavior an owner of a bar is supposed to display?"
Lesson 2:
Bar owners anywhere in the world are often drunk, violent, and unreasonable. That's why they're bar owners and not librarians.

"BEWARE: Sharky's Bar"
Lesson 3:
Beware of any establishment anywhere in the world that's called "Sharky's"!

#12 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,185
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Posted by sayadian on 18/2/2012 at 20:54

'Bar owners anywhere in the world are often drunk, violent, and unreasonable. That's why they're bar owners and not librarians.'

I love it ;-)

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Posted by oscarcat on 19/2/2012 at 20:25

Did a girl set the table up for you each time?

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Posted by CrankyCarrot on 21/2/2012 at 04:51

Most of the places I've played pool in Cambodia it's been free, so long as you buy something, but even still 25c for a game sure beats the ridiculous $3-$4 you pay for the same back in Sydney pubs these days...

What's Cambodian for "mai pen rai"?

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Posted by sayadian on 21/2/2012 at 05:39

Meun ai tay.
I'm amazed this thread has gone on so long.most of these bars are just overpriced pick-up. Joints with 60's music,full of skanks looking for losers to rip-off.your average trave,,er would be bored to death.they hardly contribute to local culture.much nicer are the bars on the Riverfront.

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Posted by eastwest on 21/2/2012 at 06:44

Sayadian, you remind me of the religious groups who condemn movies or books without having read them.
Earlier you stated that you haven't been to Sharky's so why these remarks?

Completely disagree with your opinion on the Riverfront bars. Those are real tourist traps and I'm surprised that you actually put in a good word for them. Nice decoration, mediocre food and high prices. And to imply riverfront bars contribute to local culture is even stranger when the highest concentration of western people is exactly there

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Posted by sayadian on 21/2/2012 at 07:34

Try and improve your reading skills.i said I didn't go to Sharkeys not that I'd never been there. I'currently in Mekhong River bar sitting outside enjoying the breeze drinking large,good beers at 75 cents each.how much is a beer in Sharkey's? Ambience is great here,come and join us

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Posted by sayadian on 21/2/2012 at 07:40

BTW We have lots of local culture.the place is teeming with beggars and hawkers

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Posted by sayadian on 21/2/2012 at 07:42

BTW We have lots of local culture.the place is teeming with beggars and hawkers

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Posted by MADMAC on 22/2/2012 at 00:41

I love the contrast between Eastwest and Sayadian. I enjoy both of their posts, but for different reasons. One is essentially a romantic, one is essentially a realist.

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Posted by CrankyCarrot on 22/2/2012 at 08:09

Which is which?

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Posted by oscarcat on 22/2/2012 at 18:14

I'm lead to believe that there IS normally a girl that sets the table up for you in Sharky's (at least the table you pay for. So you're depriving her of her wage by making your point. WTG!

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Posted by sayadian on 22/2/2012 at 18:57

Everybody in this unfortunate spat has a point, I suppose.Firstly, it is true that in most bars (well the ones I've visited, but I'm not familiar with the hostess kind) in Cambodia pool is provided gratis, unlike Europe.So probably the OP felt a bit aggrieved with having to pay.
Saying that there was a sign, albeit a small one, which pointed out that 1000 real was required each game.Now 1000 riel is small change and I don't think it's a bad deal for a game of pool and certainly not a sum to get worked up about. Everyday the local shop tries to pretend they've made a mistake with my change.Until I point out the discrepancy.Cambodia is the land of scams basically because the rot starts at the head.The people in charge are no paragons of virtue and the poor people get constantly ripped off by people they should be able to trust, like doctors, lawyers etc.The habit is ingrained.So if this was a rip-off ( a very minor one) then please forgive the people as they are taught badly by their 'betters.'

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Posted by Beskev on 29/7/2012 at 20:07

I am honestly amazed, as one person pointed out already, that this thread has gone on as long as it has. I just came back from Phnom Penh, visited Sharky's and had a fine time. I am always one to be leery of being over charged as a foreigner in countries like Cambodia or elsewhere... but 1000 riel?! Are you serious?! When a tuk-tuk driver tries to charge you $10 for a ride when it should be $3, ok, I get it, take a stand. I do. But you understand that 1000 riel is 0.25 cents, correct? What principles are you standing up for? There are times to stand your ground and there are times to just pay the .25 or $1.00 and go to your hotel. Pick your battles. This is absurd!

#25 Beskev has been a member since 29/7/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by sayadian on 30/7/2012 at 01:30

The thread was dead you just resurrected it.But your point is taken. IMO you're more likely to lose money taking one of the skanks which hang around these bars back to a hotel and wake up minus your wallet etc. ;-)

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Posted by Beskev on 30/7/2012 at 04:21

Yeah, I guess it has been dead for a while. Sorry, didnt notice. You're definitely right about the skanky bar girls. But the bartenders are pretty legit. Nice girls. Anyway, alls well. I'm sure neither of us will ever be there again, so whatever!

#27 Beskev has been a member since 29/7/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by Virginian7100 on 7/7/2013 at 06:05

After reading this post I was shaking my head - with part disbelief and part disgust. Sadly, it sure sounds like another example of foreigner arrogance, disrespect, and lack of interest in the Country they are visiting. I am a foreigner also, and have lived here for several years...and it always amazes me that there are so many visitors to this Country (or any Country) that come here with blinders on there heads....look around, blend in, learn, and enjoy a different way of doing things. These guys are probably the same way in their home country - "me, me, macho, macho"!!
As far as Sharkey's Bar goes - it is a good bar. Quite different from most in Phnom Penh, and hosts some good rock and roll bands. The
signs for playing pool at a nominal fee were put there because other foreigners like these guys were hogging the tables all night.

#28 Virginian7100 has been a member since 7/7/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 9/7/2013 at 07:55

"The owner is a terrible person who should be locked up for wrongful kidnapping and battery."

I know this is an old post but this guy is an arse. The owner simply wanted a cheapskate customer to pay.

"Sadly, it sure sounds like another example of foreigner arrogance, disrespect, and lack of interest in the Country they are visiting. I am a foreigner also, and have lived here for several years...and it always amazes me that there are so many visitors to this Country (or any Country) that come here with blinders on there heads....look around, blend in, learn, and enjoy a different way of doing things. These guys are probably the same way in their home country - "me, me, macho, macho"!!"

So true. Since when is charging for a pool table a scam? Hotels all over the world charge money to play them and at 75c it was dirt cheap. Shame the tuk tuk guys didnt do a number on this dirtbag. 2 posts and hasn't been back. I bet he hasn't been back to SEA since and that's good for the locals.

#29 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
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Posted by MADMAC on 9/7/2013 at 08:34

I lean towards Leonard's point of view here. It's chump change - come on. Funny I've lived here six years, I go to bars, I've never had a problem like this. And I'm not unusual. I'm the same as most people posting here. How hard is it to get along in Cambodia or Thailand? This is a get along kind of place.

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Posted by Snookieboi on 9/7/2013 at 09:20

MK MIKE

I'm calling you a drama queen for making such a big howl over absolutely nothing. Your over reaction was well over the top and based on lack of respect on your part. You go into Sharkeys and use their pool tables and then make a hoo haa over 3 games at a pissy 25 cents each?, then accuse everyone else of being unreasonable at your sheer lunacy of thought process??

Not only do you blame others because of your sheer arrogance and ignorance, but at the same time you warn people not to go to Sharkeys- which is a pretty ok place as a matter of fact. Mike, i'd like to know where you expect to play pool for less than 1000 real in a bar like Sharkeys filled with interesting ladies? That's only like 25 cents a game, tightass!!

Maybe you shouldn't go out with an attitude like that. Strewth!

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Posted by Jacobmcdaid123 on 21/3/2016 at 09:01

Dude seriously.. Seriously. Every pool table I've ever been to costs to play. Most don't have a sign. You complained about 25c a game? Your what we Aussies call a fuckwit. I'm glad they gave you a hard time. The only scammer is you.

#32 Jacobmcdaid123 has been a member since 21/3/2016. Posts: 1


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