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Review: Chhing’s in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Chhing’s is one of the newest hostest bars in Phnom Penh. At the same time the bar has a story going back some time. The place is named for its proprietor. She had her start working in other hostess bars in Phnom Penh before opening a place of her own. Later she opened Chhing’s.

The location of Chhing’s bar has a bit of history too. First of all you can see the same buildings on the same street in historical photos of the city going back many years. But more recently the location was home to Alice’s Pub.

Of course Chhing is now out of the game so to speak. But she does run the bar and is often found inside. She brings with her a lot of experience. That extends to the way she runs the place. And even the sort of staff she draws in.

Chhing’s on Street 144

Chhing’s bar is located on Street 144 near the intersection with Street 19. With a fairly plain black and glass front it’s not the easiest location to spot. But it is there. Right across the street from the Lucky Express Market and only a short distance from the riverside.

This area has never been filled with bars like the blocks of Street 104, 130 and 136 nearer to the river. But there have been a few bars set up in this area over the years.

Chhing Chhing bar phnom penh cambodia

As stated above this space was once home to Alice’s Pub. Years ago that was a rather popular bar for a certain subset of expats even though the place was not a hostess bar and only had two or three women on staff. Alice later moved her operation to a much bigger space a couple of streets over. The pub space was turned into a local restaurant then closed. In November 2020 Chhing took over the spot and opened the current bar.

The building is historical which means it is also old. The French has a strange way of setting up some of these shop houses. So there are lofts located about half way back. The only issue with these is that they make for quite low ceilings on the ground floor. Chhing has gotten around this by turning the loft in a semi-private area. Then the lower floor after the bar has curtains which can pull around and add privacy there too.

The sturdy black bar top seems to be the same one from Alice’s. But everything else has been changed. There is a nice mirror back wall filled with bottle of alcohol. And at the very top there is a neon light that simply reads “Chhing’s.”

Staff, service and summary

There are just under a dozen women working at Chhing’s bar. That is not including Chhing herself. Or the others who seem to materialized whenever there is a party or special event. Chhing also seems to be hiring all the time. So as with most bars of the sort the staff could change one way or another with little notice.

As it stands the ladies who do work the bar seem to have been well selected. They are a team of friendly gals ranging in age from 20 to perhaps 30. Most are probably in the mid to upper part of that range. Generally speaking they look good even if one or two is a bit on the heavy side in relation to most other local ladies. Many of the women at Chhing’s are experienced lasses who dress well and are quite comfortable around foreign customers. In other words they are hostesses in the real sense of the word.

While things can get a bit wild inside with the possibility of a well lubricated lady even dancing on a table this is in fact a hostess bar. The main purpose of the place is to give guys a space to hang out with friendly ladies and share drinks and conversation. Ladies make their money through salary and commission from lady drinks. There is a barfine system. But that doesn’t mean that every lady will leave the place with any guy who asks. Some people perhaps used to visiting brothels or go go bars to the exclusion of all else take umbrage with this model. Others embrace and enjoy it.

I have to admit that I am a fan of hostess bars. Some are much better than others. Chhing’s is well run and based squarely on a lot of experience in the industry. It’s not the most plush bar around. And the women who work there are not all half naked super models. But it is a nice hostess bar with nice hostesses. For that reason I give the place three-and-a-half stars.

Chhing’s. 32Eo Street 144, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Click here for a map. Open every day from 7:00 PM until late.

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