One of my favorite college memories lies in a cozy little coffee shop called Donkey Coffee and Espresso off Washington St. in Athens, Ohio. Since leaving the Hocking Hills region, whatever city I'm in, I've diligently searched for a spot to curl up with a book or my laptop and a cup of joe. Until now I haven't had much luck.
Finally, I've found a close contender. Although it's no Donkey, Living Room in Phnom Penh boasts a similar vibe to my alma mater hangout. With art hanging on the walls, colorful comfy couches and a refreshing second floor open air patio complete with wicker furniture and lined with tropical plants, it's a great place to relax, escape the heat and enjoy a coffee or cafe salad.
Upon my first arrival to Living Room, a customer sat at a piano in the corner and played a mix of classic and modern favorites. Laptops sprinkled the cafe and the room filled with intellectually stimulating conversation. I ordered a veggie sampler platter and half did some reading and writing and half eavesdropped on the teachers beside me, discussing their classroom management.
My second and third visits weren't too shabby either. The internet connection is the best I've experienced in Cambodia so far, and the iced espresso (made with the house Mondulkiri beans) with sweetened condensed milk isn't shabby either. A visit might cost a little more than some other cafes around town, but an hour or two in the physically relaxing, mentally stimulating atmosphere is well worth the price.
Yes, I think you'll be able to find me at Living Room quite often this month, as I'm expecting to have to do a lot of out-of-the-office work and it's only a few blocks walk down the street. No coffee shop will ever hold such a special place in my heart as the beloved Donkey, but in Cambodia, I'll take what I can get.