La Pétanque Bar offers a homely venue for relaxed fun times with friends. Words by Miguel Jerónimo; photography by Lucas Veuve.

La Pétanque BarWe sit on a bench along the bar; the environment is quiet and the golden sunlight marking the end of the day pours in from the cosy pedestrianised street as we settle down in a seat to talk to Sébastian Rodriguez.

He’s the co-owner, in partnership with Adrien Deshayes, of this newly opened bar, which focuses on a simple but on-the-spot concept: come with friends, enjoy a cheap drink in an unpretentious atmosphere and have fun while playing the iconic game of petanque.

Hailing from the south of France, the game consists of throwing metal balls to see who gets closest to a small target ball on a strip of sand.

The game is set up in the centre of the space in an open-air setting, with some tables scattered around. A mesh of lights hang above, giving this street a coherent brand.

Undoubtedly, more bars and restaurants will spring up along the street in the next few months, making this a serious candidate for the new hang out spot in

the capital.

All this we learn while sipping an Indochine white beer ($2.50), made in Cambodia with a unique mix of coriander and orange peel – a refreshing and fruity delight.

Other options on the menu include wine ($2 a glass), draft beer ($1.50 or $0.75 during the 5pm to 7pm happy hour), classic cocktails ($3.50) and shots ($2). But the star, following the tradition of what’s usually drunk in France while playing petanque, is the pastis.

Plain or with added syrups such as the almond-tasting orgeat, grenadine or mint, for $1.50 visitors can have the whole French experience.

If after playing – pool and darts are also available – visitors get hungry, a $6.50 charcuterie plate with different types of sausage, chorizo, ham and bread will definitely satisfy the stomach; with fish acras, chicken dips or onion rings also being options.

In the future, there are plans for events such as French barbecue, karaoke or petanque competitions, besides starting to sell craft beer. For now, we taste a cup of Clément Selected Barel ($5), a French Caribbean rum with a strong but smooth body supported by vanilla notes, a luxury to be appreciated plain or on-the-rocks.

La Pétanque’s simple decoration helps set the tone, with the tables and sofas making us feel like we’re at home, including a recycled table built by the owner using pallets. Some details put a smile on our face, such as the Ecobodia straws made out of corn, giving us the impression of a job done with care.

While for now more than half the clientele are French, the bar which opened about three months ago is starting to attract a wider variety of customers, including Khmers, making it a serious new player in town for a relaxed drink after work or some quality time with friends.