Expat blogger Seth Colvin lists his favorite Panama City nightlife spots. 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 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 enjoy 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.
Tantalo Rooftop Bar, Casco Viejo
Tantalo, on top of the Tantalo Hotel, is by far one of the best rooftop bars in Panama City. The drinks are a little more expensive than usual for Panama City and dress up smarter when you show up here. You’ll get some awesome city views here.
Envy Club, Calle Alquilino de la Guardia (in front of the Hyatt Place)
LGBTQ club. Well priced drinks, decent music, and a good vibe inside.
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 every night. Easy enough to stop by for a cold beer whenever you want. They also have live music, which makes this place even more enjoyable.
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.
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, and is also a great place to catch the game.
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.
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! A great place for dancing salsa.
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.
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.