Blue Dragon.

Street 184. Price: Mid-range,$5 per glass of (very good) White wine. No food but street food on either side. Clientelle: Expat.

The Blue Dragon is located perfectly, directly overlooking the Royal Palace from the outside seating area and it is a very comfortable, cosy little bar. The owner Geoff is French from near Sancerre and he is a relaxed, laid back Frenchman with an understated, dry sense of humour. Coming from where he does he has a deep knowledge of the wines he serves, they have plenty of beers and spirits too but no draught, but today I was in a white wine state of mind. We sampled a Sancerre and a lovely Loire Sauvignon blanc, both of which were served cold but not so cold that the subtle depths of the wine gets lost, a common mistake in many places unfortunately.

The bar inside stands out from the usual bar here simply beacause they have made the effort to make the place genuinely cosy with comfortable seating areas and nice, subdued lighting. The vibe here is soft and loungey so if you are after the more Asian feel then maybe save this for another night but make sure you do give it a try, actually if you come here on a Sunday as we did then you will get a great view of the throngs of Khmer picnicing outside the Royal Palace, just make sure to sit outside to enjoy the atmosphere.

This is a great little bar in which to enjoy a bit of a quality drink in great surroundings, it does cost more than some of the cheaper options nearby but less than some others which do not have quite the same ambiance or quality of drinks, I really like the place. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy many a night in the more typical Asian style bars which serve beer from anything from half a dollar to a dollar and a half, but this is for a relaxed sophisticated drink. Good white wines are among my favourite tipples and here I know that I can get exactly what I need to fill the gap which has been created by too much lager.

Tried and tested institutions like the FCC are just a stones throw away and need also to be visited but this is more intimate, it is very French and there are some things the French do very well, intimate small bars being one of those things. When in Phnom Penh do stop by and chat wine with Geoff, it makes for a very pleasant night.

Lucien Grey.


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