Utopia is one of the many hostess bars in Phnom Penh. The bar is on the small side and might blend in with the many other bars of its type that now operate in Cambodia’s capital city. Yet there are some things that set this little establishment apart from the competition.
The bar opened a while back but changed hands. The current incarnation was started by two women who are themselves veterans of the hostess bar scene in the city. They are able to rely on their experience and accumulated business acumen to make more of Utopia than one might expect considering its small size and out of the way location.
Location and Layout
Utopia Bar is situated on Street 172 around the corner from the much better known Shanghai Bar. That means the place is also just steps away from the infamous Golden Sorya Mall. Most would agree that Shanghai has seen better days. Golden Sorya just went through a major remodel but remains more than half-empty. There are plenty of slots for bars available in the new mall though the discounted rental prices seem to indicate a lack of interest.
Utopia would probably be easy to miss. At the same time it is not difficult to locate. The street it rather quiet at night. Utopia has a few big square signs out front to make the entrance. Often times there are women sitting out in front of the bar as well.
Inside the bar is rather small. Still it seems to have all the room it needs. There is a seating area just to the left of the entrance. After that there is the moderately sized bar with assorted stools. Off to the right there is more seating.
Music is played but it never gets too loud. It is at the right level to allow for fun and conversation at the same time. All of the drinks one would expect are available too. Drink prices are reasonable and on par for hostess bars in Phnom Penh. That means nothing costs more than a few dollars.
Staff and Service
It can be tough to write an accurate description of the staff in any hostess bar. First there is the fact that beauty is subjective. One man’s curvy babe is another man’s oversized beast. That is just the way it goes. I can’t help but be subjective when I write about the looks of women in venues like these. At the same time my idea of good looks is pretty close to what was the general standard of beauty for the last few decades.
Beyond beauty it is also a fact that women in many hostess bars move around all the time. A bar can be filled with beauties one night but nearly empty the next. It happens. At one point years ago ladies in a certain hostess bar in the city all walked off the job at the same time due to a dispute with the owner. Usually though its more of a fluid and incremental thing.
The staff at Utopia Bar has been more or less constant for many months however. So I can paint a bit of a picture. There are usually around ten ladies at Utopia beside the aforementioned owners of the bar. While a few could be described as average in terms of looks they are still kind and polite. There are also a handful of women in their early twenties who are quite attractive and charming. Most of the women in the bar speak at least limited English. A couple are nearly fluent in two or even three languages.
Buying a lady drink for less than three dollars wins customers the gratitude and often affection of ladies in the bar. What happens beyond that is always a matter between consenting adults. At the same time things often do get more hands on at Utopia than most other bars in the city. Especially when particular women on staff are involved. Many of the women also seem up for heading out of the bar with customers who pay the ten dollar barfine, at least in the right situation.
Utopia Bar is a well run little hostess bar. Conveniently near places like Golden Sorya Mall and the Pontoon Nightclub it is set up for success. Even though the bar has a lot of competition to deal with it always seems to draw in customers. Despite its small size it does good business.
That goes to show that these sorts of establishments can continue to draw in clients and generate income even with so many other bars around town. The people behind Utopia know what they are doing. They have experience and they put it to good use. It really shows in what Utopia is and may very well become.
Utopia. Street 172, Phnom Penh. Open every day from 6:30 PM to 1:00 AM. Website: www.facebook.com/UtopiaBarPhnomPenh/