Bars of Bassac Lane, Phnom Penh - review by Rusty Compass
Phnom Penh | nightlife guide

Independent reviews and recommendations by Rusty Compass. No advertorial, no paid placements and no sponsored content.

Bars of Bassac Lane, Phnom Penh

| 21 Mar 2015
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Bars of Bassac Lane, Phnom Penh
Bassac Lane off St 308, Phnom Penh
Till 12AM

Our rating
21 Mar 2015

The micro-bars of Phnom Penh’s Bassac Lane have given the city’s nightlife a big boost.



Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

Review - Bars of Bassac Lane

Once a town offering a couple of expat bars and a plethora of sleaze, Phnom Penh’s nightlife has been changing for the better in recent years. There’s been another big leap forward with the opening of a cluster of small bars on a tiny urban strip that’s become known as Bassac Lane.

Bassac Lane’s development hasn’t exactly been organic.  A few years ago, two kiwis, the Norbert-Munns brothers, took the capital’s nocturnal options in a new direction when they opened Bar Sito (properly known as bar.sito), a speakeasy hidden down a back lane. 

Now they’ve applied their bar and design savvy to a strip of tiny establishments also tucked away from the city’s nightlife centre in a residential neighbourhood. And they’re doing a handsome trade.

Each bar is different in theme and style. There’s The Library, Meat and Greet and two we’ve included in our listings, Hangar 44 and Cicada. There are several others and we’re told further additions are planned. And the Norbert-Munns brothers are partners or owners in all of them.

Bassac Lane’s a great place for a quiet drink and a chat. It’s intimate and mellow with a restrained buzz. 

While it may be in the middle of a local neighbourhood, during our visits, locals were conspicuously absent in the bars. For reasons I don’t fully understand, Phnom Penh’s expat scene is still quite segregated. With a few exceptions, you could forget you’re in Cambodia apart from the occasional local wandering home through the lane.

One micro-bar ingredient that seems to be missing on Bassac Lane is the passionate owner operator. While the staff were friendly and efficient enough, they didn't seem to know a whole lot about what they were serving up - except at Hangar 44, where co-owner Patrick Uong seemed to be on deck a lot of the time.
You can read more about Hangar 44 here.

There’s a row of popular restaurants on nearby St 308 so you can make a night or two of the Bassac Lane area. It all shuts down before twelve so the neighbours can sleep. Recommended.

Rusty Compass listings and reviews are always independent and disclosure is important to us. We paid our way in full on our visits to Bassac Lane. Any freebies or payments will be declared. We have neither sought nor received any inducement, financial or otherwise, to publish this listing and review.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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