KHLA cocktail bar brings Asian flavors to downtown Phoenix

PHOENIX — If you’re looking for a bar that has an exciting vibe with Asian-American flair, you’ll want to check out KHLA in downtown Phoenix.

This new Asian-American cocktail bar tucked into an alley promises “an immersive experience” to a country far from the Valley of the Sun.

“[Customers] feel like they’re in Bangkok, Cambodia, things like that and that sort of really resonates with me just because that’s…. what I truly wanted for the guests — to just sort of feel out of place but at the right place at the right time,” said Tyka Chheng, the co-owner and operator of KHLA.

ABC15| Nicole Gutierrez

INGREDIENTS THAT WILL TRANSPORT YOU

According to Chheng, KHLA means Tiger in Khmer (the native language of his parents), paying homage to the Asian community.

“We focus on East Asian and Southeast Asian ingredients. So we try to allocate Asian ingredients and Asian spirits like Japanese spirits. We’ve got Baijiu on the back bar which is a Chinese spirit. We also have ingredients from Southeast Asia, that goes really well… like pandan [and] galangal,” said Chheng. “Turmeric is really big out there as well. Cambodian black pepper, stuff like that gets incorporated to our menu as well.”

REPRESENTATION MATTERS

To Chheng, a first-generation Cambodian-American, KHLA is more than just a bar.

“This is the first time in my life that I’m working in a career that I love, where I feel represented. And to me, it’s almost a personal diary that’s open for the public now…All is welcomed, and please just enjoy this ride with me,” said Chheng, in an interview with ABC15.

IF YOU GO

Location: 218 East Portland Street- Phoenix, AZ 85004
Hours:

  • Wednesday/Thursday: 5 pm – 12 am
  • Friday / Saturday: 5pm – 1am
  • Sundays: 5pm – 12am

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