October 03, 2007
Category: Panama Hotels
Be prepared for a shocker when you get to Panama, especially if you are coming from one of the Central American neighbours. Bars in Panama are much more cosmopolitan than the bars in, say Guatemala or Nicaragua. You will find a tremendous variety in the types of music, drink prices, and crowds.
If you are just looking to unwind, grab a beer, and call it a night around 10 then Panama may not be the place for you. There aren’t a ton of sidewalk cafés that feature outdoor or patio dining, but a handful exist in places like Casco Viejo or El Cangrejo. Even the Bella Vista and Calle Uruguay area has a handful of spots. Habibis is an obvious choice for outdoor lounging, and Sahara is another good place to go for a cool drink outside. In Casco Viejo, one can find a number of places like Brazios. La Terraza was a popular gringo hangout, but with the exit of ¨dirty Mike¨, the Panama bar’s fabled owner, the place has lost its distinctive feel. You can still get a cold beer at this famous gringo watering hole, located on Via Venetto.
Bars in Panama usually get cranking around 10 or 11pm, and one of the best bars to begin the night is the new Londoner Bar located on Calle Uruguay. They have happy hour, billiards, and a good looking and distinctively British menu. British memorabilia line the bar, British and Scottish ales are available, and football is almost always on the tele. Another good bar in Panama is Crème. An upscale lounge type bar that features some great mixed drinks and the most comfortable couches in the country, Crème is a must visit for the business traveler and the backpacker alike. Located next to Farmacia Arrocha, this bar turns into a very hip club after 11pm. The appetizers are top notch, and the drinks wont cost you an arm and a leg.
For a complete list of bars in Panama, I usually go to buscapanama.net. I think this site is maintained by an American living down there, and it seems like they do a pretty good job of keeping up with the trends. The site differentiates between bars and clubs, which is important because the two tend to attract different crowds. Another good thing about buscapanama is that they feature pictures of people at the bar. Another good panama bar website is dealante.com, but that one is in all Spanish. It’s a great place to see all of the good looking crowds.
The thing about Panama bars is that one week they’ll be all the rage and the next week they’ll be dead. People in Panama love their bars, and following the trends can be a full time job. Bars in Panama run a ton of specials, and from the looks of it the busca panama site has a list of specials as well. Most bars here don’t close until late, so there is always an opportunity to grab a drink well into the wee hours.
The variety of bars in Panama is tremendous, and they are concentrated in a number of different areas. The primary bar hopping areas are Calle Uruguay, Area Bancaria, and Amador Causeway. The financial district, or area bancaria, is quickly becoming one of the hottest places for bars in panama. Bars like El Pavo Real, Koppas, Crème, Lighthouse, and Voila are all located in this new trendy area. It is the closest area to walk to if travellers are staying in the El Cangrejo or Bella Vista areas, and it is very safe at all hours of the night. The causeway is a bit far away, and bars are spread out. Calle Uruguay has the highest concentration of bars, and they run the gambit from dive bar to swanky club.
Either way, there is definitely something for everyone!
Kent Preiss-Davis has been dreaming about Panama since he was a boy, and finally made it out to the beautiful country which he now calls home. He has taken on the arduous task of reviewing every bar, club, and brothel in Panama City, Panama. A weekend wasted is never a wasted weekend.
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Source: VIP Panama