There are now dozens of hostess bars in Phnom Penh. I have covered these places for almost a decade. But most of the coverage was general and meant to paint an overall picture. This year I decided to take the opportunity to cover some individual establishments in depth.
With so many hostess bars in Phnom Penh I do my best to review places that stand out from the pack. I look for individual features that would make a place notable or interesting. Unfortunately the main thing that sticks out to me about @ The Office is that it stinks. I don’t mean that as a form of casual review like The Critic used to do. I mean it literally.
There is a foul odor that emanates throughout the interior of @ The Office. This isn’t the only adult entertainment venue I’ve been to in Asia with a bad smell. Far from it. But when I think of the times I have been inside @ The Office the first thing that comes to mind is the stench. Here’s what else I think about it.
At The Office in Phnom Penh
I do have to admit that I rather like the name of this bar. Or at least I did when I first saw it scrawled across the exterior wall of the bar in neon letters several years ago. I imagined receiving a call from someone and telling them I was “at the office”. Lots of bars use cute phrases like these for names. It can make a place memorable. Then again so can a broken sewage pipe or whatever causes the bad smell inside @ The Office.
The bar is actually rather large and different from the other hostess bars in town. Located just off the riverside on Street 118 this is one of the few bars of the sort that doesn’t occupy a Chinese style shop house. Instead it takes up the bottom floor of an elongated concrete structure with some unrelated apartments upstairs.
It seems that some real investment was made in creating this place. That was especially obvious when it first opened several years ago. The bar and seating area inside is all quite nice too. One is left wondering why nothing is done about the odor that abounds. Though considering the area this just may be a case of a problem that cannot be easily fixed. After all there are some large water treatment facilities on the riverside promenade that have been kicking out the smell of raw sewage for years.
Staff, service and summary
I don’t mean to get stuck on the smell but it really is the thing that sticks out most about this bar to me. I say that after visiting a few times. It wasn’t so bad that I had to run out of the place immediately. But it was bad enough that I didn’t necessarily want to hang out for multiple rounds of drinks.
There are several women who work this bar. Most are average and none have ever stood out enough to me to erase the memories of the stench from the black latrine. Or whatever it is that causes the thing that’s burnt into my mind.
The women are nice enough but I can’t really say one way or another. It is sort of like going to one of the very crowded nightclubs in Jakarta with a couple of nude dancers on stage. Sure I know there were some tits on display but the main impression I take away is the feeling of being smashed like a sardine in a can. The throbbing crowds of drunk and high people pulsating in all directions has more of an impact that a couple of cans.
So I will say that @ The Office is a rather average bar in a big space with a bad smell. Or at least that is how it seemed to me. I am hardly the only voice in the world. But I can only express my own opinion based on my own observations. That’s what I have done for close to a decade. And that’s what I will continue to do. I give this place one star. I’d probably give it another if it smelled better.
|Address:||No 03 Street 118, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Map)|
|Hours:||7:00 PM - 2:00 AM|