Despite the widespread devastation of the hospitality industry by COVID-19, one precinct in Phnom Penh seems to be defying all odds and operating almost Business as Usual. In the leafy backstreets of Tonle Bassac are bustling Bassac Lane, St 308 and St 21. There you will find small, high-end bars and restaurants that will soon be surrounded by new condos and more night venues.
COVID-19 did slow business in Bassac Lane area for a while, but it bounced back and now on weekends, the night air is filled with music and laughter as people return to their old habits. Bassac Lane is now so full of bars and hole-in-the-wall venues, that new venues are spilling into Street 308 and Street 21.
Because land prices in Bassac Lane are 10-20% less than BKK 1, prices are cheaper all round. Prices of food and beverages are comparatively cheap. You can find a bar selling cocktails at $3, draught beer at $1 and meals from $5.
Amidst the general activity, there is a sense of optimism despite the tight border controls keeping tourist numbers down. So instead of going to the usual haunts on Street 136 and Pub Street that have obviously been hard hit by the pandemic, check out Bassac Lane where the night lights are a little bit brighter.