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Review: Island Bar in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Island Bar is one of the most naughty and notorious of all the hostess bars in Phnom Penh. At least among a certain subset of guys who patronize these sorts of places. It is also one of the most adult oriented for whatever that is worth. What I mean to say that it is more oriented to actual adult relations than a lot of the newer style bars such as Honeypot which are more about sharing lady drinks with hostesses.

Island Bar has been around for many years. While I am unable to pinpoint the exact date the place opened I do know that it has been in business for at least seven or eight years. I think it has probably been open even longer than that. Years ago I mentioned Island in an overview of the hostess bars in Phnom Penh. At the time I wrote that island “has a reputation as being a place where nearly all the women will go out with customers without much effort required.” That remains true today. Now I have the opportunity to write about the place in more detail.

Island Bar on Street 118

From all appearance Island Bar is really nothing special at all. It is the kind of place that almost blends in entirely with its surroundings. Located on a relatively quiet stretch of Street 118 just a short distance from the riverside the only real marker of the place is the white sign outside. Some women can usually be found sitting outside of the bar too. But that can be said of many buildings including private homes across the city.

island bar phnom penh

Inside Island Bar has a sort of dark and dingy. It has a black interior with the usual bar on one side and shoddy seating on the other. Of course there is also a television connected to Youtube playing all the greatest top 40 hits of the early 2000’s.

As with any bar of the sort the main attraction is the ladies on staff. That is perhaps truer here than anywhere. With a rightfully gained reputation for being hot to trot the women and others who work in the bar are willing and able to please. That doesn’t mean that every man who walks inside will have their dreams fulfilled. But enough guys have left the place with a smile for observers like me to take notice.

Staff, service and summary

I have visited Island Bar several times over the years. It hasn’t changed much over time. I have never any real beauties or stunners inside of the bar. Instead there is usually a handful of more or less average women around. Occasionally there will be one or more older ladies too. There is also an effeminate man behind the bar.

There are also a couple of ladyboys who work in the bar. They are somewhat obvious though I can imagine that there are men who would not know. From what I have heard there is also at least one post-op ladyboy who works in the bar. If she is the lady I am thinking of she could easily pass as a woman. Or at least get a job at Straps. Those with experience in this area will know that is not often the case with ladyboys in Phnom Penh.

As stated above most of the women and probably all of the ladyboys working at Island Bar are more than willing to accept a barfine and go have fun with guys. A significant number are also up for some hands on fun right inside the premises. At least in the right scenario. That’s not to say it’s happens every day to everyone who enters. But it occurs with enough regularity to merit a mention here. It’s joins a handful of other places in that regard.

Whether they go out or stay in the women aren’t exactly what you’d call money hungry. Prices are reasonable for drinks and all else. There’s little in the way of either drink hustling or begging for tips. It’s a rather straight forward hostess bar with lots of options for guys who are looking for them. It’s not the Taj Mahal but it gets the job done. Two-and-a-half stars.

Island Bar. 28 Street 118, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Click here for a map. Open every day from 7:00 PM until 2:00 AM.

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