Siem Reap has long had a reputation for a raucous drinking scene – but there’s more to it than the drink-till-you-drop frenzy of Pub Street (which you’ll be glad to know Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is far enough away from for you to be able to sleep soundly, yet just a couple of minutes away by tuk-tuk if you fancy joining in!)
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Nowadays, Siem Reap boasts a vibrant scene of everything from hardcore drinking dens to calmer little hideaways where you can while away an evening, whether solo or with friends, over a few glasses of wine, inexpensive cocktails, or decent beers. Here are some of our favourite bars in Siem Reap.
Asana claims to be downtown Siem Reap’s only remaining traditional Cambodian wooden house, and it’s certainly an atmospheric spot to enjoy a drink. This quirky, romantic-feeling bar has precarious-looking staircases that wind between the different spaces, and there’s a good range of cocktails to go along with a short food menu. Asana also offers popular cocktail classes that make use of locally brewed spirits and other ingredients.
Daily, 12pm-midnight; Street 7; www.asana-cambodia.com
Named after its owner, this relatively new opening is a quiet, air-conditioned hideaway with a small but refreshing range of innovative cocktails alongside essential staples like cheap beers. We’re also hearing good things about their alcoholic ice cream floats, while the modern, industrial-style decor makes this a pleasant spot to catch up over a couple of drinks. Long’s also stands out as the Pub Street area’s first non-smoking bar.
Daily, 5pm-1am; Doung Hem Street; www.facebook.com/longsbarsiemreap
Update: As of Wednesday November 23, 2016, Charlie’s Bar has closed. With a long Siem Reap history, and open in its final location on Hospital Road since 2013, Charlie’s was a favourite among Siem Reap’s expats – including us – for its inexpensive drinks, good food, and friendly atmosphere. The husband-and-wife owners described the place as having a retro-Americana feel, and it was a lively, buzzy bar that often shows live sports matches. Charlie’s was also the Sunday afternoon home of Baby Elephant’s very own yoga teacher Melissa Lingo, who played acoustic sessions there for the bar’s Sangria Sundays.
Daily, 10am-1am; Hospital Road;
Le Tiem Sra
Now Permanently Closed
This cute little hole-in-the-wall bar is another favourite of ours, primarily because it’s a lovely local spot that’s right at the top of the lane that Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel sits on. Le Tiem Sra’s owner plays a pleasing range of jazz tunes, and serves up a solid list of wines, beers and cocktails, plus a selection of small locally inspired fusion-style tapas dishes. Le Tiem Sra is a low-key, friendly place to spend an evening catching up over drinks, and at the end of the night you’re less than a 30-second walk from your comfortable home-away-from-home at Baby Elephant.
Daily, 5pm-1am; Street 53; www.bit.ly/letiemsra
Miss Wong has something of a legendary reputation in Siem Reap. The vintage, Shanghai-style decor is certainly eye-catching, but the cocktails here have made their name among Siem Reap’s hardcore drinkers, too – particularly for the praiseworthy focus on local ingredients. Miss Wong is both an intimate, romantic-feeling venue, and one that gets buzzing and raucous when the weekend crowds come. Also playing to the Chinese theme is a solid selection of dim sum and other dishes.
Daily, 6pm-1am; The Lane; www.misswong.net
Now Named Soul Kitchen
Serving authentic Thai food, a highly professional F&B offering and an opulent Angkor Wat-inspired decor, this new bar on the corner of Sok San and Night Market Streets is walking distance from Baby Elephant and a great corner from which to people watch. It’s quite a place the check out, with lizard-embossed walls and a massive Angkor Wat-like head. The menu has some great tapas and seeing as the wine list was put together by the owners of Pinot Divino (currently on hiatus), you can trust the wines are great. If you’re looking to get amongst it with Siem Reap’s movers and shakers, the Grand Opening Party is coming up on Saturday November 26, 2016.
Daily, 4pm-1am; Sok San Road;
After you’ve had a tipple at Le Tiem Sra you might wander a bit further down towards The Harbour Siem Reap. At approximately 200 metres from Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, you’ll find this interesting, rough and ready but extremely friendly pirate bar. The Harbour specialises in hard rock, metal music and unique events in a converted wooden house. Get yourself an ice cold beer or a flavoured rum and head bang along with the crew. You’ll probably love to join one of their board game nights, spoken arts evenings or TED-style talks. If you’re looking for a good excuse to duck your head in, check out Stand Up Comedy @ The Harbour coming up on Saturday 26 November, 2016.
Daily, 10am-1am; Night Market Road; www.theharboursiemreap.com
The Village Cafe
They’re just launching a new menu and this little bar seems to be experiencing a bit of a renaissance. In the Central Market area known as Kandal Village, The Village Cafe boasts an elegant French environment which is lots of fun. The Village Cafe Siem Reap is famous for wine, steak and soothing jazz, usually frequented by a discerning crowd and offering detail to customer service. We love to pull up a stool at the bar, order a rosé and a cheese platter, then soak up the atmosphere. Whether it’s just for a glass of wine, a burger at the bar or their famous tenderloin Rossini, The Village Cafe is sure to make your night comfortable, enjoyable and memorable.
Daily, 5pm-12pm; Preah Sangreach Tep Vong St; facebook.com/village-cafe
Where to stay in Siem Reap
Looking for a Siem Reap hotel from which to explore the best bars and nightlife that Siem Reap has to offer, while also being within easy reach of the famous Angkor Wat temples? Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is waiting for you – click here to take a look at our relaxing rooms, all with free breakfast and use of our gorgeous swimming pool.
Siem Reap has some of the best cafés, restaurants and bars in the world. We’ll be adding more drinking holes to this list to build a comprehensive collection of Siem Reap’s best bars. Let us know about your favourite bar in the comments so we can add it to this list!
Le Tiem Sra main photo by Chris Wotton; all other photos courtesy of the respective bars.