With a name like “Pub Street”, there wouldn’t be much effort involved in convincing me to check such a place out. Pub Street can be found at the old market (downtown) area of Siem Reap in Cambodia, you won’t miss it if you’re planning on visiting Angkor Wat and spending some time in the city. It was late afternoon during our arrival in Siem Reap when we first passed by Pub Street, I was instantly drawn to the French colonial buildings still extant lining the whole stretch (actually much of the downtown area). Most of the buildings are now occupied by restaurants, cafes, and bars, thus the name “Pub Street.”

Walking Tour of Pub Street

We went back to Pub Street around early evening and I noticed the bars were starting to fill up with all kinds of tourists. Pub Street is the center of tourist life in Siem Reap, it’s where visitors and locals alike go to chill after a full day of touring the ancient temples of Angkor. Cuisines from all continents are well represented in Pub Street.

Cambodian Beers

Before dinner, we hung out at one of the resto-bars. I was particularly interested to try out their local beers. They have “Angkor” beer in Cambodia, the taste is very similar to “Red Horse” but not as bitter … err “full flavored.” The usual selling price in Pub Street is $0.50 – $1 for a 500ml bottle of Angkor Beer … easy on the wallet. Beer Lao is another common brand sold in Siem Reap and sells for around the same price. As the name suggests, Beer Lao is produced in Laos. It’s a lager and has a lighter taste compared to Angkor.

Cosmopolitan Siem Reap

I haven’t actually gotten tired of mentioning that I like the Pub Street (Old Market) area so much. The atmosphere here is just perfect … I can’t seem so find the perfect words to describe it. I guess, the most striking thing about the Pub Street area for me is its organic cosmopolitan feeling. There’s just a lot of diverse cultures converging in this one place yet there’s still a dominating sense of the local Khmer culture, which doesn’t get lost in all the foreign influence.

Pub Street is more than restaurants, cafes, and bars … there’s a considerable community of artists who converge in this place. We made a quick visit to McDermott Gallery, which had a display of John McDermott’s remarkable photography of the Angkor temples.

John McDermott Gallery

Discoveries Beyond Pub Street

There are several alleys and narrow pathways branching out of Pub Street. These parts are also filled with even more shops. A lot of interesting lounge bars, restaurants, galleries, clothing stores can be found here and getting lost is an attraction in itself. It’s an absolute treasure trove of discoveries! Our hosts Don and Loven (together with his wife, Faith, and son, Freedom) live in Siem Reap. Like me, they are also from Iloilo City but they decided to call Siem Reap their new home. They are behind “Poetry” and “Art Deli” in Alley West, located just behind Pub Street.


As Don puts it … Don Protasio designs clothes. A complete sentence in itself but it really does not give justice to the work he’s doing. I really have much respect for people who do what they do for the sake of their passion and creating such inspiring stuff. I believe it’s a major variable for equating a happy life. I love that Don also designs for men and that a lot of his clothes are very wearable. I remember seeing his Philippine Fashion Week 2008 s/s collection and then having the urge to own a DP piece, I don’t think my budget allows for that though :) Many of Don Protsio’s latest pieces (clothes, accessories, art) are displayed in Poetry.

Art Deli

Art Deli, located a few shops from Poetry, is an art gallery which doubles as a lounge bar and restaurant. Loven Ramos has his witty and quirky artworks displayed all over Art Deli. I like how Loven plays around with his visual artistry by working on different kinds of mediums and bringing dimension into his pieces. Another great thing about Art Deli is that they specialize in selling affordable art. A lot of the displays can be bought for just a couple of dollars. Art Deli is totally a great place to hang out. The mood is very relaxed, homey, and conducive for inspiration and conversation. They have this backyard area that I just love. It’s basically a small space in between buildings that they transformed into an open air lounge that allows for a more intimate setting. The moment I saw it, I instantly missed my close friends back home since it was just the perfect hangout place and I’m sure they’d love it too.

Camwhoring in Siem Reap

Dinner at Art Deli

That evening, Loven hosted a food tasting for Art Deli. Kawadjan, Bubbles, and I were very happy guinea pigs :) Don and Loven’s wife, Faith also joined us that night. I felt like I wasn’t in a foreign land since I was with kababayans. Even the guy behind the counter in Art Deli that Loven hired was from the countrysides of Leon, Iloilo and was talking to me in straight ragumo karay-a.

Chicken curry pizza and assorted mushrooms and cheese pizza

Left to right: Mussels and mushroom pasta, artichokes and white wine pasta, Classic tomato pasta