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Red Bar – Phnom Penh: A Familiar Wank Hole

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Red Bar - Phnom Penh: A Familiar Wank Hole in an Unfamiliar Place

re-bar-wank

Red Bar - Phnom Penh: A Familiar Wank Hole in an Unfamiliar Place

Red Bar - Phnom Penh: A Familiar Wank Hole in an Unfamiliar Place

Hipster bars are now officially everywhere, there is not escape...

When I first researched Cambodia, I was given the impression that it was a run down Wild West type situation. On first inspection, I saw it was filled with fucked up looking westerners who had given up on Thailand, and in turn, given up on life. I was amazed to see a busted looking old honky-tron passed out stone cold on the bank of the Mekong river at 2 in the afternoon. Not long after that I saw another man in his 50's, pinging his ballsack off at a small cafe nearby. This fuck did't even have the decency to wear a t-shirt, just a grubby vest and skanked shorts covered in their bad choice of breakfast.
But these failures of societies blessed norms were a welcome site compared with what I witnessed at Red Bar.

Like many newbies in a strange city, I consulted google for guidance. Unfortunately google's algorithm has a tendency to prefer the mundane and played out. I searched for variables of the usual: best street food, best restaurants, best clubs, best markets, best bars. Now the latter is what we are focusing on, the rest is of no concern for you right now. But trust me, you'll want to have a long hard think about how you research ANY of these decisions in the future after reading these paragraphs of disdain.
The guide I selected was the same guide that told me about the other things I was looking to discover. Street food, restaurants, clubs and markets: Culture Trip. I won't put their web address in, they have paid me nothing and therefore I owe them fuck all. I will say they did good on the pizza place I found (because, you know, when in Cambodia you gots to have a pizza). When I looked at their guide for bars, I discovered a pattern of coincidence. Turned out that the Airbnb I had booked out of pure financial convenience was a skip and mince from the best bars, restaurants, and something else I can't remember. So it made sense to check out these places that came so highly recommended as they were so close.
Red Bar was described as some sort of hip tank hole, but I did not really care for that aspect, it was the $1 draught lagers that sold it to me. You cannot go wrong with that sort of deal. NEVER. Even during my first drinking excursion here I found two venues selling 75 cent draughts during happy hour time frames that would make any British man wet as a cum soaked cucumber. Those venues had appalling service and played the same song every 22 minutes, but I got drunk for the cheapest price I have paid in 25 years, so I didn't care.

Now paying $1 for drinks at a place that is on THE LIST of places to drink in a nations capital was too good to pass up. Plus, as mentioned, it was round the fucking corner.
Now let it be clear, I use to work in Shoreditch, in fact I worked there in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2015 and 2016. I did my tours of duty in wanker land, I earned these stripes. These stripes give me the expertise to judge a full functioning wank hole and warn potential customers of what pitfalls of spunk buggery awaits them.
This place had the cheap drinks, cheap cocktails, but also had the un-mistakebale musk of wank. Not just uber east London wank, but uber worldwide dry wank. Dry wank is the worse wank of all. It's not shit enough to laugh about, and it's not great enough to rave about. It has no emotion. It does not disappoint, it does not annoy, it does not please, it does not anger, it does not make you horny. It's juts there, and the patrons are just there. And the furniture is just there. It's all just there. That's it. Nothing to be angry about, nothing to be excited about. Just... nothing.
The clientele I first noticed were wacky Chinese tourists, at a guess, playing some variation of rock, paper, scissor that got them ever so excited. But that was as interesting as it got. One after another, various ex pat westerners entered and left, dressed in short shorts and forgettable t-shirts. They were the same person, flowing awkwardly in and out. Later on two Americans entered, their nationality was more obvious as they were louder than anyone else. One of them proceeded to talk about tech to the two east Asian looking ladies. Where they were from was not so obvious as they were quieter, so not so obviously American. When I am sat in a dry venue with aspirations of quirkiness and I hear Americans talk about tech, I know I am done. Too often when working near old street I would sit in Hoxton square during lunch breaks eating. Americans would circle the square in pairs having some sort of power walking meeting. As they would pass me by every few minutes, I would overhear tech talk and mutterings about social media engagement. This made me wish for some sort of apocalyptic incident to occur and annihilate the entire shit show of it all. These snippets of talk made me realise how London had been invaded and impregnated by wankery and there was no longer any hope.
The very small area where Red Bar contains a microcosm of wankery venues. This was what Hoxton and Shoreditch once was many years ago. It started so small that it was quaint and interesting. I'm sure that back then it was more interesting though as the age of wankery was not in full affect. But now the age of wankery has overstayed it's welcome and here it is, in Phnom Penh, a rugged third world city. It's a city that has no idea what wank awaits it in the future. This area will grow until it sprawls, and once it sprawls the prices will not justify putting up with a mundane experience that I had. Not one person here was excited or exciting, they were just there because that's where they are supposed to be.

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DANANG-UNDER-400

Can You Live in Danang for Under $400 a MONTH?

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Can You Live in Danang, Vietnam for Under $400 a MONTH?

Can You Live in Danang, Vietnam for Under $400 a MONTH?

Can You Live in Danang, Vietnam for Under $400 a MONTH?

Danang is cheap, but to live a "luxurious" and "comfortable" lifestyle for under $400 is a stretch.

You will often come across blogs and vlogs with clickbait titles, promising an depth look into how possible it is to live on a "buzzword" monetary amount. This started with "can you live in Thailand for under $600 a month", and has grown into it's own unique micro-niche. Where-as they do lay out how it can be done in these videos, they often leave out key details, and don't really know how to budget correctly or even do the research to find the best bargains. I am a man who believes in doing better.

In the video, "LIVING UNDER $400 IN DA NANG, VIETNAM | COST OF LIVING GUIDE IN DA NANG", Christian Rodriguez claims you can live a comfortable and "luxurious" lifestyle in the city of Danang Vietnam. Well I live there too and I'm gonna lay out what he gets right and what he most definitely got wrong!

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Negroni Lovers Tour of Danang

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A Big Old Negroni

Negroni Tour of Danang

Negroni Tour of Danang

Negronis aren't just a drink, they're a bloody good drink...

According to Campari Australia, those who drink Negronis regularly are witty, well-travelled, well-read and willing to spend big on a good meal. That sums me up proper. When I arrived in Danang in January 2020, one of the first searches I did was where can a man find a bar that will serve this witty well-read lunatic a Negroni? Turns out there’s a lot, well there were lots and lots, of places, particularly in the My An ward wear I lived. So, as a functioning smash hound who loves Negronis, I present to you a run down of the establishments I have hit up during my Negroni chasing adventures in Danang.

Oasis Tapas Bar

negroni-oasis-tapas-bar
negroni-oasis-bar-danang

The first Negroni I had in Danang was at a bar called Wanderlust (it soon died just after the second lock down in March). They use to Negroni Tuesdays where they were supposed to be 60,000! Unfortunately they seemed to forget about this rule when I turned up, and charged me 95,000. What a liberty. Shortly after this event I wish to forget I discovered that the famous Oasis Bar in My An served Negronis for 85,000, which is a very handsome price for a tight-fisted, I mean, bargain hunting gent like myself. The Negronis here were the fucking bomb. Mixed correctly with care, the attention to detail from the mixing technique to the ice cube to the fine print of orange peel were all first rate. Not only was it done with god-damn respect, the measures thrown into this saucy red fox were beyond generous.

The head bartender there was a quietly spoken psychopath, not because he strangled cats and posted severed fingers to the local authority building, but because he loved making big and strong drinks to fuck you up. I would always have three here, that was the standard, any more than three and you would be resembling My Khe beach on a blowy day: proper wavy. This is how you do it, this is how you satisfy a discerning punter like me and keep me coming back for more like a crackhead on sample day. This was a business model that should be shouted about by every business mogul online. Gary Vee should be doing daily Instagram videos declaring: “Oasis Tapas Bar Negronis are the fucking standard, raise your fucking game…” or something like that. You may realise that I have referred to Oasis in the past-tense, and that is because, like Wanderlust, it is no more. Oasis was an institution, it was one of the very first foreign owned bars in the My An area and had been doing great business for a decade. But 2020 has had no respect for anything, and around July time Oasis closed it’s doors for the last time. A fucking disgrace, can any other bar in the area meet it’s solid standard of smash???

sOul kitchen

Soul Kitchen in An Bang is a nice location right on the beach. A little overpriced, as these beach front joints tend to be, it is a relaxing spot, to extent! You will find yourself being pleasantly harassed by beach vendors flogging all sorts of wares and quails eggs. They smile a lot and are very friendly, but they do have similar traits to that of a small town night club sex pest. No does mean no to them. This is why many a man has developed the cold blank face stare. I use to think people were proper rude and entitled pricks based on the frequent use of the cold blank face, just staring into space dismissively like some Uber honky with a hookers elbow jammed up their Harris. However, as I have learned, these arseholes are wise arseholes, because if you have no intention of buying stuff you don't need not want, being smiley and engaging is just leading people on, and that's very mean.

On my previous two visits to Soul Kitchen I had not realised that they sold Negronis and I happened to find myself here on the random and was pleasantly surprised to see my mistress on the menu. At 120,000 dong it's in the higher price bracket, and basically that means it's 90,000 for the booze and 30,000 for the view. It's a good view, but the music they play in this joint doesn't compliment the sites of lush beach and ocean. It's more for complimenting the stench of trustafarian dreadlock stank and sweaty first world chub folds in a dirt hostel. I suppose those are minor gripes, but then again, being so complacent about these minor gripes is what drives some men to murder.

After consuming a tuna steak that my friend had been singing the praises of for some time and feeling mildly satisfied, it was time to consume a glass of the bosses nectar. I ordered the Negroni whilst my friend remained silent, only for the waitress to walk away and for him to suddenly inform me that these Negroni’s were no good. He said that they did not use Rosso Vermouth but orange juice instead. I was disgusted by this concept and equally disgusted that he did not inform me whilst making the order, but I’m an explorer, and sometimes you might have to experience some most dark and hideous things.

Fast forward a few minutes and she brought the Negroni over, from a distance it looked like a regular Negroni and once it had arrived it did not resemble the Frankenstein monster my friend had predicted. He was surprised by this, I was not, as I am an Englishman abroad and we don’t have any issue with causing offence so this waitress must have known I was not to be played with. What did shock me, and I am still recovering, was that instead of a signature orange peel, there was a whole round slice from what must have been the worlds biggest lime. A slice of lime in a Negroni? Not today satan! But, it was here now and I figured maybe this addition may open up doors to a whole new world of taste sensations yet experienced by a way above average human like myself. Unfortunately this was not to be, the lime did not add anything but it did not take too much away. This was by far the most average Negroni I have ever had, and when something is so difficult to fuck up that is quite an achievement to be honest. It was forgettable, except for the un-welcome presence of lime and the very idea that this could have been made with orange juice. That is unforgettable and unforgivable and lucky for them they narrowly escaped receiving a thoroughly stern dressing down on google maps.

negroni-craftsman-danang

the craftsman

the craftsman

I have only been to this place twice, and both times I only drank one drink, and it wasn't a Woo Woo. This place is where you expect to drink negronis, it's all jazzy, and like Hoxton ten years ago. Yes, it's a wanker hole. Let me clarify, I have no problem with countless jazz inspired speak easy cocktail joints, but if you don't admit to it's wankery and have the self awareness that you are committing an act of wankery by drinking there, then you need to call mumsy for a good drawing down. Noone likes moderate jazz, not even the musicians, it's just a lie we all partake in.
The level of wankery was at record breaking levels on this evening. Not only was I served a small complimentary bowl of salted popcorn, once a very kooky idea in East London toss holes, but I also received an auditory assault from the live jazz ensemble. Yes, ensemble, I will use this kind of talk when describing such experiences. You may have heard of scat singing, you may have seen it movie parody form, but to experience live in reality is something else. For two seconds I thought it was just Vietnamese, until the haunting reality kicked me in the Harris, this was scat talk. Surely this was some kind of, I dunno, prank or something bro. Buy it wasn't, and people were nodding and clapping with acceptance. I just couldn't accept this. And worse of all some boys were videoing and photographing this for what had to be promotional purposes, and I was caught on camera several times. I'm immortalised in wankery now. I hate technology.
But hey, the negroni though, that's why I subjected myself to such things. It was small in portions, but they had a very impressive trick to manipulate your expectations by plonking an ice cube inside the glass with a vast circumference. This made the whole glass look full to the brim with booze, when in reality, it was a quarter full of fight juice. Nice trick pal, but next time, give a man more bang.

paws

Opposite where Wanderlust once was, is a curious place that has deck chairs and sometimes plays Charleston infused house. Sounds terrible I know, but it's not so bad. On occasions I would have a massage and enjoy the relaxing aftermath sat on one of those deckchairs, drinking a cocktail whilst waiting for the sun to go away. This place does get busy, but I've never attended, unlike the craftsman, on a busy night. And nor would I want to, people are terrible, worse than hamsters. The negronis here are decent enough, priced at 100k, it's far superior to crazy cats lunatic offering. As far as quality goes, it's as good as one as one I would make myself, but it does come in a nice glass, the ice is a good size, and the booze content is agreeable. Jesus, what kind of ponsed up psychopath am I.

negroni-paws-bar-danang

apocalypse now bar

First time I came to the Apocalypse Now bar was when I first came to Danang. I understood the drill, it's a poncy beach bar with inflated prices, but I wanted the Mrs to at least have some boasting points on Instagram and this is the kind of place that would impress the easily impressed. It has the usual superficial charm that a middle aged tourist might think is mad hip. Loud obnoxious generic house music and cocktails in nice glasses, plus some live music interpretations of 70's pedophile rock. When I came I had no idea they sold Negronis and was on a budget at the time, but as soon as the sweet baller mistress was in view I had to succumb to her seductive calling. At that time it was pretty pricey, but upon my recent return the prices have well and truly been pumped up.more than a body steroids heads ball bag. I was almost so disgusted by the price I was close to causing a late scene before writing a very stern letter, but I refrained. The cocktail itself is adequate, but the price can blow a camper van of drag queens. If they took a moment to turn off their offensive plodding euro plop house music and let a man listen to the beauty of the ocean I might not be so critical, but they didn't and I will show no chill. This one can be given a miss and you will never regret that decision unless you intend to get knocked up by a 60 year old used car salesman.

Note: I do believe Apocalypse Bar is no more, it has not been open for a month or so now. Perhaps this was due to the storms and it being low season, but it most likely has been victim, like many venues in Danang, to the financial ruin of a post-covid closed border.