Craft Beers and Cocktail Abound in Panama City, Panama. Here’s Where to DrinkBy Karen Catchpole
A lively local craft beer scene and a growing number of bartenders working as hard as chefs mean visitors to Panama City, Panama have plenty of top notch bar and brewpub options to choose from. Here are some of our favorite spots in Panama’s capital.
Amano, located in central Panama City, has a craft cocktail menu that changes seasonally and includes concoctions like the Fosforito, which is made with mezcal, tawny port, melon cordial with spicy agave, and lime juice. All of the classics are available as well and there’s also a full menu. Locals love the relaxed vibe, the long list of Panamanian artisanal beers, and sitting in the garden under the trees.
The Strangers Club
The Strangers Club was conceived, funded, and opened by six bartenders who met in New York City. They fell in love with Panama and borrowed the name (and attitude) from a bar that was famous in the Panamanian city of Colón during the height of the Panama Canal’s glamour days. Since debuting in 2017 in a renovated 100-year-old building in the Casco Viejo neighborhood, this place has become known for artful cocktails sprung from a deep well of talent. The six bartender/owners rotate in and out of Panama in shifts, which keeps the bar fresh and lively.
La Rana Dorada
La Rana Dorada was at the forefront of the craft beer scene in Panama. There are now six La Rana Dorada brewpubs around Panama City, where six craft brews are offered in bottles or on tap along with a bar food menu and a relaxed pub atmosphere you will recognize immediately.
Pedro Mandinga Rum Bar
The best place in Panama City to immerse yourself in tropical bar bliss is at the Pedro Mandinga Rum Bar in Casco Viejo. From the upholstery to the glassware to the music, this place is designed to invoke swaying palms and caressing breezes. It works… as do the rum cocktails made with award-winning Pedro Mandinga rums produced in Panama using raspadura unrefined sugar. The rums are produced by a family-run farm in the town of Chiriquí, which is distilled and then aged in American white oak bourbon barrels.
Íntimo is well-loved for its hyper-local cuisine, but the bar program at Íntimo, located in the San Francisco neighborhood, has been called “one of the most progressive in the city” as well. In addition to beer and wine, expect balanced and inventive libations, sometimes using ingredients from the restaurant’s garden, from “mixologist in chief” Robert Martin from New York City.
Alquimia, the bar above Laboratorio Madrigal restaurant in Casco Viejo, serves up classics like the Sazerac and the French 75, along with originals like the Forgive Me, which is made with pisco, St. Germain, lemon, ginger, and apple. Everything is crafted with homemade macerations and syrups, and there’s a sizeable virgin cocktails menu too.
If you want to try a selection of Panamanian craft beers alongside those from the U.S. and Europe, head to Buenas Pintas. Located in the Bella Vista area of the city, locals credit this place with having the biggest collection for artisanal beer in the Panama City.