Phnom Penh Hostess Bars Update 2February 11, 2008
The last hostess bars review left off a few so some of us decided that we would visit a few of the less well known Hostess establishments and give a more in depth review of each so that owners and potential could understand why these places are not as popular as others.
Nay Nay Star (Street 102) – a typical Hostess bar with accommodation upstairs. They service excellent taro chips and the girls are friendly, but few in number and uninspiring. There is a well lit pool table at the back of the bar but the rest of the bar is dark and dingy. Could do with a better drinks selection.
CU Bar (Coyote Ugly) Wat Phnom – Nice wide and bright bar. It took an hour to think of something positive to say about this bar. A few girls were spread around the bar. When I walked in with a few friends the only other customer left. The girls were not at all interested in us. We were informed the owner had drunk too much and retired to bed. That summed up the feeling of the place. Near the end of our drink a very attractive hostess appeared. She went behind the bar, chatted to the girls and then promptly sat at the furthest chair away from us. A good indicator on why this Bar is not on anybody’s list. Hope the food is better than the ambience.
Power Bar (street 104) – A good corner bar with lots of room and busy with customers. Not many girls but that could have been because of Chinese New Year. Nothing spectacular but nothing bad. Drink selection OK, girls OK. It’s location at the top of 104 is good and is recommended as a stop if you are wanting to visit a few bars in the area
Borroza Bar (Street 104) – Next door to Rose Bar. We had heard that this bar had a number of ladyboys working there. When we turned up no ladyboys, only a few girls and a few customers playing pool. Girls were friendly and attractive and the Beatles were the tunes. Half way through our drink a couple of not unattractive ladyboys arrived. They were demure but attracted a few interested glances from the pool playing crowd. Good vibe and recommended.
Mermaid Bar (Street 108) – Just down from the Blue Lagoon. This bar is a standard hole in the wall with a lounge and pool table upstairs. Mermaid has two points of difference. The first was a pregnant hostess. She was delightful and wearing a polka dot, shiny dress that would not have looked out of place in Marilyn Monroe’s wardrobe. The second is a tall, Chinese looking girl who gives excellent massages. Highly recommended. On the minus side the bar played the Macarena but the girls did not know how to do a Macarena train. Recently I noticed the same at Sorya. If you play the Macarena you have to form the train!
Alien Bar (Street 51) – A major disappointment. I had been there the previous week and it was fun. This visit was actually unpleasant. Upon entering we were hit with the very strong smell of fresh paint. The ceiling had been painted. Pity because the décor is pleasant and the lounge area spacious and modern. We decided to drink outside. The only outside table was occupied by a couple of African males and what appeared to be their girlfriends. As we were paying customers the table was vacated. The Africans protested at this by playing loud Gangsta music through a cell phone. Of the around 8 girls, two sat with us. The looks on their faces was similar to an 8 year old’s that had just been told they could not have any ice cream. The rest sat inside partying by themselves. How on earth they expected anybody to buy them a lady drink, let alone bar fine, is beyond me. I had been there the week before and it had been fun. Different girls, different times. They advertise that they have 39 types of wine. The menu did not reflect this. Overall, bad vibe, bad time.
Pit Stop Bar (Street 51) – Our Last stop and this was appropriate. The bar should be called the “Last Stop bar”. We were only willing to view the dimly lit bar, with its single hostess sitting forlornly on a stool, from the street. It looked like the diner from Boulevard of Broken Dreams, but without James, Marilyn or Humphrey. Alternatively if you take mind altering substances before you attend you could feel you are in one of the dream sequences from a David Lynch production from the 1980’s.
Prior to going out we went to Metro for dinner prior to visiting the bars. Most of us had the sirloin steak. We were not disappointed. For $13 (plus 10% service charge) you are presented with a large, perfectly cooked 250gram sirloin. You can choose fries or vegetables. For quality and value this is the best in town. Service was done with a smile.
Of the Bars reviewed over the last couple of weeks my favorites are:
Sugar Shack – great drinks, attractive friendly girls and good management with good 60-80’s music
Mermaid Bar – for the attached man the massage cannot be beaten for a “safe” sensual experience
Updown Bar – just different, open late, spacious and experienced friendly staff on both sides of the bar
Rose Bar – wild and exciting at times. Probably more like most people expect hostess bars to be than any other Bar in Phnom Penh
Flipside – the worst bars not worth a visit
Coyote Ugly – flat, close to useless in fact. It’s relatively remote location sets the scene
The Cathouse – feels like a fake. Hostess Bar for the insipid. Never go anywhere where you have to pay $1 to play pool
Chili’s Bar – where did it all go wrong for Chili? Once the face of after dark Phnom Penh. Now her and her bar are like faded ageing Hollywood stars. Perhaps she should take over Pitstop.