Expat blogger Seth Colvin lists his favorite Panama City nightlife spots to visit in 2020. From rooftop bars to jazz clubs, karaoke joints, and lounges, he has you covered.
Because I live next door in Colombia, I often – like many Colombians – find myself in Panama, which is like a home away from home. Sometimes I go elsewhere, but Panama City always calls me back, and recently I spent a month there with my Colombian girlfriend.
During our time in Panama City, we got familiar with the nightlife in town and went out quite a lot. But beforehand, we tried to find some info online about great bars and clubs to hang out in.
Maybe we were looking in the wrong places, because finding any info wasn’t easy.
Seemed to us that most online content about Panama City nightlife focused on single men and the best places to meet girls.
We just couldn’t find much online information about the best places for couples to go out.
So, if you’re in Panama City, what are the best nightlife venues to go to with your partner?
Panama City Nightlife: Areas to Visit
First, if you want to enjoy the nightlife in Panama City, you need ideal logistics. You need to know where the fun is.
The best place for couples looking to start a night out is The Amador Causeway.
Come out here for a few sundowners and dinner before heading elsewhere more fun.
The Amador Causeway offers romantic views across the water to Panama City and plenty of restaurants to enjoy. One of our favorites is Hacienda Colombiana which has great Colombian food.
Another restaurant on the Amador Causeway we like is Sirena. Good service, good food.
When it’s time to get serious, an area to check out is El Cangrejo.
Here you’ll find plenty of spots along Via Argentina, and later you’ll want to head to Calle Uruguay. The venues here are more expensive so bring more money and dress better.
And then there’s Casco Viejo.
Over the past decade and more, Casco Viejo – the old part of Panama City – has gentrified. Once run-down and rough, Casco Viejo is now a World Heritage Site, with restored colonial charm and some of the most popular bars and clubs in the city.
Casco Viejo is easy to hop around on foot. This makes it a great neighborhood to check out if you’re new to Panama City and want a good introduction to the nightlife here. The one personal negative I have is that Casco Viejo is a little more expensive than elsewhere.
So now let’s check out some of our favorite places to enjoy the best of Panama City nightlife – or at least these are the places we enjoyed most:
Below is a list of the bars, pubs, clubs, and rooftop joints that defined our Panama City nightlife experience. On a personal level, I’ll add that we aren’t into that staying-up-all-night-listening-to-loud-dance-music vibe. Most of the spots listed below are more bars and lounge-style places, so it’s a subjective list.
But I hope you find it useful for the next time you’re traveling to Panama and find yourself in the capital city for a night or two.
Club Tantalo, Casco Viejo
Club Tantalo, on top of the Tantalo Hotel, is by far one of the best clubs in Panama City. It’s one of the more active clubs with a great selection of music in Spanish.
The drinks are a little more expensive than usual for Panama City and dress up smarter when you show up here.
But otherwise, Tantalo is a great place with an amazing rooftop also! You’ll get some awesome city views here.
The Strangers Club, Casco Viejo
The Strangers Club is a chill place for drinks with your partner. Their staff is professional and the hamburgers pretty damn good.
I felt that the prices were high here, but that’s Casco Viejo. Overall though, it’s a good experience and worth the price.
Chupitos 507, Casco Viejo
Chupitos 507 is one of the best places for cocktails and shots in Panama City.
If you show up here, you won’t need to go anywhere else because this place has all the alcohol and music you need.
Line your stomach before and drink plenty of water afterward because the drinks are strong here.
Chupitos is more suited for younger people in their 20s but if you’re older, you can still have a good time here.
DiVino Enoteca, Casco Viejo
Tired of beer and cocktails? Then change it up a bit with some wine! DiVino Enoteca is passionate about wine and has a great selection, along with solid tapas game.
To be fair, I only came here once. They were always closed every other time I tried to visit, even though their hours said they were open.
That’s my only complaint about DiVino Enoteca. You can’t be sure if the place will be open or not when you arrive. But definitely worth a visit.
Just hope you are lucky enough to find them open 😉
Gatto Blanco, Casco Viejo
Gatto Blanco is another Casco Viejo rooftop bar. We like the place but it’s not our favorite hangout in Panama City. Maybe we’re too old.
Gatto Blanco is better suited for younger crowds. But they still have plenty of good drinks and the music is decent.
Envy Club, Calle Alquilino de la Guardia (in front of the Hyatt Place)
Envy Club is okay. Well priced drinks, decent music, and a good vibe inside.
The main downside for me was the bouncers. Unfriendly and unprofessional. They also need more variety in the music they play as it only seems to be electronic from my experience. But that’s just me.
Even though this is a good club to visit, Envy was my least favorite on this list. If you’re into your pounding electronica though, you’ll love this place.
Hangar 18, Urbana Industrial Los Angeles
Hangar 18 is an excellent bar for rock music and everyone that loves rock music. This is my type of place.
One nice thing about Hangar 18 is that they always seem to be open. Easy enough to stop by for a cold beer whenever you want.
They also have live music, which makes this place even more enjoyable.
Red Lion San Francisco, Calle 77 Este
This bar has one of the best beer selections you’ll find in Panama City and great professional staff.
I love the mac and cheese here. My girlfriend had French fries with some meat and she said it tasted great too.
The Red Lion also has a little dancefloor, and the music is decent.
El Green Room, Calle 64 Este
El Green Room is the first place we found for karaoke.
I can’t sing, but if you love karaoke, you’ll have a lot of fun here, especially if you come with someone who loves karaoke like my girlfriend.
Order a few drinks to down first to convince yourself your singing abilities are good enough for American Idol.
Alejandro’s, Calle 50, Bella Vista
Alejandro’s has the best service by far anywhere from my experience in Panama City. The staff here is much more active and mindful of their customers here. They are also a lot friendlier than other places.
The drinks are also decent, although a little expensive. Still worth the price though.
Another cool thing is the live music here – or at least when we showed up. This made the experience much more enjoyable.
Alejandro’s has some of the best cigars in Panama City.
Inedito Rooftop Lounge, Avenida Balboa
Inedito is also one of the best rooftop bars in Panama City.
The food is great here too and I recommend their hamburgers. This is a fancier place that we visited with some friends who live in Panama City. We also ordered champagne here that went well for the occasion.
All around a good place to visit.
The Londoner Pub, Calle Uruguay
The Londoner Pub is nice when you want somewhere more calm and relaxed. It’s more of a pub than a nightlife venue.
While plenty of the other places are better for tearing it up at the weekend, this place is ideal for a Monday night drink.
Good pool table here, too.
La Rana Dorada, Via Argentina, El Cangrejo
La Rana Dorada is a chain of brewpubs with six locations all over Panama City, including one in Casco Viejo.
We visited the Via Argentina location in El Cangrejo, which has both outdoor and indoor seating.
The craft beer is some of the best you’ll find in Panama, served by a great professional staff.
Good, solid bar food – the burgers go well with the brews at La Rana Dorada.
My one tiny complaint is the time it took to get the check, but outside of that, the staff is friendly and efficient.
Relic Bar, Casco Viejo
The Relic Bar is a cool spot in Panama City with cheap drinks compared to other places.
Relaxed and calm, it’s a lot less vibrant than other bars, and a great place to chill in.
The only downside was the slow service, but if you show up earlier – around 9:00 or 10:00 PM – the service seemed better in our experience.
Danilo’s Jazz Club, Casco Viejo
I love a good jazz club and Danilo’s is the best place I could find in Panama City with good live jazz playing.
Perfect for couples wishing to spend a relaxing evening together.
El Karaoke 50, Calle 50 (in front of the Hotel Riu)
Unfortunately, I lost a bet with my girlfriend and we had to go to another Panama City karaoke bar.
El Karaoke 50 is cool, though, and I prefer it to El Green Room because of the atmosphere.
But if you love karaoke, both places work well.
Pedro Mandinga Rum Bar, Casco Viejo
Pedro Mandinga has by far the best rum cocktails in Panama City and decent happy hour specials.
Try the tapas here, too. They’re delicious!
Chillin Sports Bar, Avenida La Pulida
A good bar with cheap beers. I’d say Chillin Sports Bar also has the best wings I’ve found in Panama City.
Another place with slow service, but it was super busy when we went, so that’s fair.
CasaCasco, Casco Viejo
CasaCasco is another one of my favorite spots in Panama City. This place has five floors with different restaurants, a club, and a rooftop bar.
Like Club Tantalo, the rooftop here offers great views of Panama City.
CasaCasco attracts lots of young people so anyone older than their mid-thirties might feel a bit out of place.
Special Panama City Nightlife Tip: Make Some Friends
I should say that we didn’t find all these places by luck on our own.
We have good friends in Panama City who took the time to show us around and make sure we enjoyed ourselves.
Regardless of where you are in the world, hanging out with locals who know the best places to go out will always be more fun.
Making friends in Panama City requires you to spend time here and meet people.
I recommend doing just that as it’ll enhance your experience and give you a lot more good memories of Panama City. And if you live here or know the city well yourself, let us know about your favorite Panama City nightlife – where you like to hang out!
Detroit native Seth Colvin first gained an interest in Latin America when studying Spanish in college. Now he lives in Bogota, Colombia where he works as a writer and blogger, running the lifestyle site Dating Colombianas.