New hostess bars are opening in Phnom Penh at a rate that is almost impossible to keep up with. In spite of that what is probably the newest bar on the scene has managed to step away from the pack and set its self apart from the competition. For that it seems to deserve a write up of its own. I present my review of the new Moe’s bar in Phnom Penh.
Moe’s is obviously not to be confused with the world famous tavern of the same name. But true to form and almost on cue I did see a local town drunk asleep on the street in front of the place just before it opened one day.
Moe’s is not to be confused with the much larger Mao’s on the riverside near the night market either even the places do share a few small similarities such as having a soft tip dart machine and some of the prettiest women to be found on staff.
Moe’s is located on Street 144 a few blocks from the riverside. The bar sits between a hair salon and a local restaurant and not in the midst of countless other bars on streets like 104 and 136. Those who remember the original Alice Pub will know the location as Moe’s is only a few doors down. Alice apparently moved her bar over to Street 130 though the sign for the old Alice Pub still hangs over the door at the original location.
Moe’s is not a large bar by any means. It is sufficient in size however and certainly has more space than the closed Alice’s where Western customers often had to duck just to get inside. Alice’s wasn’t necessarily a hostess bar however it was still popular. Time will tell if Moe’s will become equally as popular. I would guess so judging by what I’ve seen.
The staff at Moe’s isn’t gigantic either. But there does seem to be a strict selection process in place. That is something in this day and age. With the rise of so many new bars more than one man has commented on the policy of many new bar owners which is seemingly to hire anyone with a pulse.
The ladies at Moe’s are uniformly attractive and they all carry themselves well. On top of that they really know how to put on their clothes and cosmetics to make themselves look as good as possible. There is a relatively high level of English spoken too which is not something seen in every bar in the city.
The layout is good too. There are soft booth style seats on one side of the bar which allow customers to get quite comfortable. On the other side sits the dart machine with plenty of room. The restroom is in the back and easy to access. This is a step up from some places that crowd everything together and turn their facilities into a sort of cramped hot house. Still Moe’s is a small bar. Let there be no doubt about it.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Moe’s is the VIP room just behind the bar. It is a regular room with the kind of cushioned chairs you might expect but it also has a rather unique attribute. The VIP room contains an arcade video game set up that contains all sorts of classic retro games. As anyone who has read my post on the best adult games would know I started playing video games long ago when things were a lot more simple yet fun. While there are obviously no adult games available at Moe’s they do have both Pac-Man and Miss Pac-Man set for free unlimited plays which is actually preferable.
The dart machine in front isn’t as unique and its not free either. It’s still more fun to play darts with one of the lovely hostesses than connect four or Jenga even though those games are also on hand. Game players ought to feel right at home.
Surely some regulars in the city will appreciate the location of Moe’s. Since it is away from the other main bar areas they don’t have to worry about being seen in a “bad part of town” by prying eyes. Street 144 is pretty quiet after dark even though there’s lots of life around with street food down the block and a massive residential building with its own militarized guards. At the same time anyone stopping at Moe’s could be in the mix of the Street 136 bar scene in a minute either by foot or on wheels if they so desired.
As the opening of Moe’s goes to show the hostess bar scene in Phnom Penh is not only growing but spreading out. At one time the bars were mainly limited to Street 104 and Street 136 near the riverside with a handful of bars also on Street 51, Street 108, and Street 110. Now there are bars up Street 130 and Street 136 blocks away from the riverside not to mention all the bars on Street 172 and the side streets too. There are even two bars around the corner from Moe’s near the Sun and Moon Hotel. Obviously there could be too many bars at some point but if so that has not yet been reached.
If places like Pattaya are anything to go by the bar scene may continue to grow for many years to come. If even half of the new bars that open in the future are anything like Moe’s they will most likely bring in their fair share of customers too.
Moe’s, 76 Street 144, Phnom Penh. Open every day from 5:00pm to 1:00am. Click here for a map.