The Chairman is back...
Having missed the official opening party on Monday it was time to check out the latest addition to the Phnom Penh bar scene.
Mao’s commands the corner of street 106 and Sisowath Quay on the riverfront.
According to a press release, In the 1920s, Mao’s previous owner was a Chinese rice trader. His landing stage for his products on the Tonle Sap was only a few meters from his door. Some years later the headquarters of a Chinese business association was added.
This building – the first one from the so-called Quartier Français - survived until the 1990s. In 1994, a complete and very difficult renovation commenced on the structure and roof. Many projects were attempted: an embassy, headquarters for an international organisation, an American company’s regional headquarter, private residence of a popular Canadian singer and an Asian office for an English soccer team.
Mao’s has been completely renovated by Cambodian craftsmen. From the first brick to the last bulb, traditional techniques of renovation were used. Some specialists were brought in from Siem Reap and Svay Rieng provinces.
An exceptional collection of rare documents
The Mao’s collection of photos and canvases and posters and other authentic documents on display are thanks to the generosity of a private European collector, who has collected over 300 pieces over the last 15 year. Today Mao’s displays this wonderful collection found in Beijing and other Chinese towns and provinces.
Mao’s is a very laid back bar and the ideal spot for anyone who is looking to kick back and chill with your friends.
The Drinks here are excellent. On the cocktail menu there is aptly named house cocktail The Chairman Mao, $5.50, champagne, grenadine and orange juice. Grenadine for the red colour, champagne for victory and orange juice, simply for the “vitamin C” which is sure to get even the shy to dance!
The music is dance, remixed 80's, 90's, and today. A stage is set up for live music and the management is looking for performers. It looks like another great live music venue has arrived in the capital.
With its high-pitched ceilings, reminiscent of Monsoon Bar on street 214 (those of you who have been here too long will remember it) the ventilation is exceptional. Original wooden trusses with ceiling fans aplenty and the open windows looking onto Sisowath Quay offer a exceptional view of the river and the activities below
The furniture in Mao’s bar section works well. Sturdy bar stools at the polished concrete bar at perfect height. The sofa style chairs and coffee tables are perfect for small bites from the extensive menu.
Thankfully, Mao’s hasn't followed the trend of other bars by over charging for a beer you wouldn't normally order – and frankly won't drink again – and instead has gone down the ‘same prices as the other bars' path.
Beers range from $1.75 for Anchor Draft thru to Coronas at $3.50 and soft drinks from $1.50. House wines by the glass are $3.50 and cocktails head north from $3.50.
Then, wash down the booze with some food from the menu, lamb stew with couscous ($9.50) Other meal prices head south from there.
At Mao’s Phnom Penh, the official beer is TIGER BEER