Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

As Phnom Penh races skyward in a bid to compete with its regional neighbors, dining options, too, are heading up to another level. The options for the vertigo-free are rising. High drinking, dining, and dancing has never been more popular amongst expats and locals alike. We visited some of these high-rise, late night establishments to check out the food, the ambience, and of course, the views of the city.

The Highest

Since 2014, D22 Restaurant, bar and lounge has been situated on the 22nd floor of Phnom Penh Tower, Monivong Boulevard. The space has a rustic-meets-industrial loft feeling, with a blend of natural wood and scrap iron, along with models of sailing boats, machinery and even bicycles becoming part of the decor.

The concept was explained by Reasey Nhim, the young Cambodian manager. “The idea of the space was based around Mr. X,” he told me. “Mr. X is a world traveler, always on the move, making new friends wherever he goes. The plan for D22 was to create a place Mr. X would call home, a place he would invite his international friends to come and visit, stay, and have a good time.”

The interior would already be enough to create an interesting ambience for dining, but it is almost overlooked at first, as the panoramic view of Phnom Penh city commands your attention.

Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

The menu is a mix of Asian and Western dishes to cater for the mix of local and expat clientele. “The brunch and lunch menu is really about fusion,” Nhim explained. “There’s more of a focus on the Asian style of cooking. The evening menu shifts its focus to more Western dishes, and our Western executive chef is always experimenting with fresh, local ingredients”

Nhim is also proud of the coffee he serves. “We have our own micro-roastery” he said, with a smile of pride. The selection includes beans from South and Central America, Ethiopia, and Papua New Guinea. “Each bean is hand-picked before and after roasting to ensure only the best reaches your cup.”

Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

Every second Sunday of the month D22 hosts the ‘jazzy brunch’ where live performers play traditional and contemporary mellow jazz and diners enjoy the specially selected menu of the day. Every 22nd of each month there is a surprise themed event, with a food and drinks menu as well as singers, dancers and musicians based around the theme. “Khmer nights and Latino nights have been very popular,” Nhim said.

Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

D22 is open from 6.30am to 1am every day, and the Eclipse bar, up one more level on floor 23, is open from 5pm to 2am.

To reach the venue, enter Phnom Penh Tower and take the lift to the 22nd floor.

Dress Code: Informal
Pricing: $$
For reservations and more information call 023 964 021

The Oldest

For those who go out when the lights come on, there are a number of rooftop bars and lounges to choose from in the city. With claims to being the original ‘high in the sky’ place for drinking and dancing, the two-leveled ‘Dusk Till Dawn Rooftop Reggae Bar’ attracts an unpretentious mix of expats and travelers from all over the world to dance away the small hours.

The Street 172 staple has become somewhat of an institution in an area renowned for hard partying. Kenyan-born boss Erik Amdella hosts bass-thumping parties from Thursday through to Saturday all year round, with local and international guest DJs and performers. Drinks are cheap, and the music policy is, of course, reggae themed, but also includes African beats, hip-hop, soul, drum ‘n’ bass and techno sounds.

Open from 4pm to 4am all week, Dusk Till Dawn is the place to watch the sun go down before partying into the night.

Dress Code: Come as you are
Pricing: $
For more information call 011 715 900

The Plushest

Across the river, at the edge of the Chroy Changvar peninsular, the imposing Sokha Hotel is a landmark usually viewed from the western bank of the Tonle Sap. Up on the 20th floor, the hotel’s rooftop ‘Tonle Sap’ bar and restaurant offers the chance to get a different perspective on the city, with unique views of the waterways and Royal Palace from the other side of the river.

Allow chefs to cook Asian-focused cuisine from the open kitchen and relax with a glass in your hand as the busy city continues to hurry and buzz down at street level. As should be expected of a five star hotel like Sokha, the atmosphere is high end but perfect for a special occasion.

Dress Code: Upscale
Pricing: $$$
For information and reservations call 023 685 8888 Ext 2225

The Hippest

Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

Open since December 2015, the swanky Sun & Moon hotel, on the infamous St. 136 deep in the dark heart of the capital’s Riverside area, has a rooftop bar straight out of Ibiza. With a unique style, the centrally located Cloud 9 Skybar (located on the 9th floor, of course), pumps out Balearics-tinged house music from 5pm until 12am weekdays and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

Open to both hotel patrons and outside guests, the bar is gaining a reputation for some of the sexiest cocktails in Phnom Penh, which can be enjoyed next to the infinity pool. A night out at Cloud 9 captures the vibrancy, soul and energy of the new look capital city.

Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

Swiss General Manager Mr. Noel Furrer describes Cloud 9 as “a unique place for both local and international guests who love to enjoy great food and fun parties, and experience the best lifestyle in Cambodia.”

Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

With regular pool parties every Saturday and regular special events, Cloud 9 promises to pull in the crowds. And with the Sun & Moon Urban Hotel, Salt ‘n’ Pepper gastro-pub, the VIP lounge, gym and spa all under the same roof, the Sun & Moon family promises patrons a full lifestyle experience for 21st century Cambodia.

Dress Code: Fashionably hip/poolside
Pricing: $$
More information can be found on the website or call 023 961 880

Living the Highlife – Rooftop Drinking and Dining in Phnom Penh

The Chicest

A more recent arrival to the sky bar scene is Deva Lounge Bar and Rooftop Restaurant, on the 9th floor of the iOne building, #25 Mao Tse Toung Boulevard. Open since January 2017, there is both indoor and roof terrace seating available, to best enjoy those jaw-dropping views of Phnom Penh by night. The stylish interiors and high end service have quickly made Deva the place to go to unwind for Friday night cocktails (and drinks any other day of the week!).

With a 360° view of the south of the city, great music at a reasonable volume, and signature food and drinks such as the intoxicating Deva Rose, Deva is the best place to dress up smart and sexy and get ready to have a good time. The lounge is suitable for couples and small groups as well as larger corporate crowds and events.

Open from 6pm to 2am every day, Deva comes highly recommended for romantic evenings and work get-togethers for chic night owls.

Dress code: Dress to impress
Pricing: $$$
For more information and reservations, call 0883983888 / 099622860