October 16, 2004
Rory's Irish Pub opened Saturday afternoon the 16th of October to a packed crowd of locals and well wishers, all of which were greeted by one of the true Irishmen in Phnom Penh, Ruairi "Rory" Barry from Dublin.
Raz, "Dingo" and Tony eating some excellent Irish stew.
Even as the doors opened at noon, "Dingo" from the Dingo Bar was there lending a hand in the day's start of emptying the iced down coolers of beer and the shelves of well stocked Irish whiskey. Raz and Tony showing up a short time later and it wasn't long before they were all consuming huge bowels of Irish stew.
Located on Street 178 just across from the Cambodian National Museum, the pub is in fact a small cross section of Irish history, having a fascinating collection of hand painted "Irish county crests" as well as the crests from both his and his mother's families, Barry and Lynch.
Familiar Irish names adorn the wall including Cork with its interesting twin-towered castles and trading frigate, Kilkenny which every self representing Irishman want-a-be knows is some of the best beer in the world (...second to Guinness Only!!!) and of course the icons of 3-castles on fire representing Dublin itself.
Bo and Tony. A beautiful couple!
Tony's beautiful companion, Bo from Mikey's on the riverfront, showed up a bit later and the two made a lovely couple indeed. Tony was having quite a time through the afternoon and quite enjoyed himself.
Tony is another one of the local boys who manages to enjoy himself in the lunacy of living and working away from the "real world". I don't think anyone that knows him would disagree with calling him "spirited"!
Even though this was suppose to be a "soft opening" with no advertising of any type, people from everywhere continued to stream in. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the Irish music streaming into the street or maybe just all the smiling faces that brought them in, but whatever it was, Rory's was soon out of places to set.
Peter, keeper of the pay check to many ex-pat NGOs in town, managed to also show up and entertain us all. Robert (formerly of Riverside) and Barry (DV8) were there with their lovely ladies as well.
Arida, Rory's better half, was there supervising the 6 wonderful ladies on hand to assist in the opening festivities. An extraordinary Irish stew had been prepared with bowl after bowl being served by her and the girls with Muy showing up after her shift from Mikey's and lending a helping hand as well. Brett came a bit later.
It wasn't long before yours truly was dipping into the first of what will turn out to many shots of Irish Whiskey at Rory's Irish Pub! With over 18 different whiskeys, 10 scotches and 4 bourbons on the shelf, with common names such as Paddy and Bushmill, finding a favourite isn't ever going to be a problem. If you like to try some real top shelf brands, you might start off with some really smooootthhh Green Spot or if you got a few extra dollars in your pocket, Midelton. You might also want to tap into the very rare "Jameson Gold" or "Locke's 8 Year Old". Even though I tried to buy Rory the first drink, Brenton "Dingo" had already beat me to it!
Peter and Michael chilling in the upstairs loft.
The sound system is rather exceptional, being computer mixed and selected, with well positioned speakers bringing a very nice "surround sound" feel to the place. If you want to "get away" and have a quiet discussion with your mates, the loft is an excellent place to chill with some very comfortable couches and chairs which you sink down into. Combined with the beautiful coffee table and old-world carriage lamps, you might think you had warped yourself back in time to a era long-gone.
The downstairs seating is pretty exceptional as well with Rory having gone out and had each chair hand made from a small photo he found on the Internet. Actually unbelievable as they are beautifully crafted and extremely comfortable, just as you would expect from an Irish pub with many years of neighbourhood regulars.
Rory is presently working on the upstairs and will have 4 moderately priced rooms done up to 3 star standards, offering an excellent central location to Phnom Penh business, embassies, clubs and the waterfront.
I couldn't help but think as I looked at Rory seated behind the bar as the U-2 song came on, "Still haven't found what I'm looking for..." that he had been one of the fortunate few in Asia that had found his nirvana. For me however, always searching over the next mountain, I left humming to myself an old Irish ballad, thinking Rory's Irish Pub in Phnom Penh had to be the best Irish bar in Cambodia, if not Southeast Asia...
Rory and Charlie toasting to a very long life with Tony looking on.
Peter and Soklang.
Tony and Brett showing their stuff!
The ever smiling and charming Soklang.