I’ve already written a lot about the hostess bars in Phnom Penh over the last three years. There are a lot of girlie bars considering the size of the city not to mention the other places that don’t exactly fit into the hostess bar category. Just because they don’t exactly fit doesn’t mean they aren’t worth mentioning. Hence this review of Tanabata in Phnom Penh.
Actually, there are two Tanabata bars in Phnom Penh. They are owned by the same guy and they are run the same way though, so the only real difference between them is that they are located on different streets. Tanabata 16 is at the end of Street 51 in the relatively upscale Boeung Keng Kang. Tanabata Bar is pretty close by on Street 63 across from the Mormon headquarters.
The Tanabata bars are based on the “Girls Bars” of Japan. Tokyo is filled with them. Basically they’re bars with chicks behind the counter paid to attract and entertain guys. You can’t take the chicks out of the girls bars in Tokyo and you can’t take them out of Tanabata either. They won’t come right out and tell you that since that might kill some of their business, but I have no vested interest in the place so I’ll tell you truth.
The first Tanabata bars opened in Vietnam where they cater to the large population of Japanese and Korean guys. I guess the boss figured that since there were also Japanese and Korean businessmen in Cambodia that the business would work well there too. I don’t know if they make money but I’ve been to both Tanabata bars a few times and usually there weren’t many other guys around.
Since the chicks working at Tanabata in Phnom Penh are instructed to use apps like Tinder to find guys and entice them into visiting the bars I have to guess the bosses are hungry for money. Maybe they already have a lot and want more, but maybe they are having a hard time in Cambodia. I don’t know and frankly I don’t care either.
Anyway when you walk into Tanabata you see a long bar with some chicks behind it. They all wear costumes that change. One day they might be dressed like sexy nurses. The next day they might look like French maids. They like to wear bunny ears too and they all have name tags with their fake Japanese names.
A few of the chicks are really hot but most are average. On the bright side they’re all in their twenties so there are no forty or fifty year old chicks breathing down your neck, a sad side effect of the “we hire anyone” attitude that some hostess bar owners have.
There’s usually one or two chicks in each Tanabata in Phnom Penh who can speak some kind of English. The others speak just Vietnamese or maybe a little Japanese. It’s no tower of Babel. But they do entertain. They play games, do coordinated K-pop style dances, blow kisses. All that shit. No sex though.
You can buy a bottle and take one or more of the chicks to a private room in the back. Both Tanabata Bars have them. In there things get more cozy. It’s like the sexy KTVs with hugging and some touching, but no sex or take out. At least that I know of. I did see some local high roller come in, demand a line up, pick a chick, disappear to a private room with her, then walk back out about 30 minutes later. Either he was getting some quick hugging in or he somehow managed to get his rocks off. I would guess a handy or suck job if anything, but that’s pure speculation. One of the reasons I visited more than once was to try to see what kind of extras were available for myself but I never got past a peck or two.
I did meet one of the Tanabata chicks outside of the bar during the day. We went to the mall and hung out and had more fun from there but nothing too serious. Her time was limited though. They come to Cambodia from Vietnam to work and make money, not hang around with poon hounds from America.
I don’t know how much money they make, but there must be something in it. Otherwise they wouldn’t be in a bar in another country dressed up like some sort of anthropomorphic bunny rabbit.
Here’s the Tanabata website which lists the operating hours and addresses of all 17 locations of Tanabata in Vietnam and Cambodia.