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Nightlife in Panama has always been a hoot: from the days when Spanish conquistadores caroused the night away in Portobelo after counting their booty, to the glory days of Colon when the shows in the clubs of the Caribbean city were rivaled only by the nighttime extravaganzas of old Havana.
Panama has long been a place to party with ¨gusto¨. These days, a good party can be had in just about any corner of the country, but of course Panama City is the epicenter.
Panama City has three zones that attract the night time crowd. Calle Uruguay, the designated “pink zone” of the metropolis offers the largest concentration of clubs, bars and restaurants in a chic urban area right in the heart of the city off Balboa Avenue (the Cinta Costera) behind the city’s latest wave of Miami-style construction.
Whether watching the action from a restaurant, dancing the night away to electronic music, singing karaoke, moving to reggaeton beats or enjoying a pint at an English Pub, Calle Uruguay is the epicenter of a revolutionary scene that meets the standards of demanding consumers of nightlife entertainment.
Panama City’s Old Quarter is experiencing a resurgence in culture and nightlife. As the quarter has gradually undergone a process of restoration over the past couple of decades, so have appeared bars, restaurants and clubs along the balconied streets and in the ancient plazas, not to forget exclusive rooftop options. The Old Quarter now offers a flavor of nightlife all its own – where lovers of this scenic old neighborhood couldn’t imagine partying anywhere else.
The scene is artsy and inspired. You can make your pilgrimage over cobblestone streets from one hot spot to the next.
Other areas that hold pockets of nightlife include Vía Argentina, with its good selection of restaurants and laid-back atmosphere and San Francisco, where the LiBar restaurant/club is popular with Venezuelans and well-dressed city types. The renovated terrace bar at the Sheraton Hotel nearby is a staple gathering spot for refreshments and cheer following a day of business at the ATLAPA Convention Center across the street.
The Marbella neighborhood holds its nightlife gems too, like the Nuvo Club in Plaza New York where electronic music plays usually all night long. Across the street, the chic Perla Lounge at the World Trade Center is adjacent to The Princess casino and the Four Points Sheraton hotel.
Folklore shows and “gentlemen’s clubs”
Gentlemen’s clubs enliven the nightlife scene in the downtown banking and hotel area. Elite, located on Calle 50, offers continuous shows seven nights a week and ¨Open Bar¨ every day ($30 per person) in the company of beautiful girls.
Le Palace, located opposite the Executive Hotel offers continuous shows each night from 10:30 p.m. with striptease, Parisian-style with lovely girls and elegant décor.
Ashe Bar and Discotec on Calle Uruguay in the city’s Pink Zone also promises feminine allure and great party atmosphere, together with promotions on drinks.
Let us not forget the casinos, situated in or adjacent to some of the big hotels (check out the Hotel El Panama), offering action, music and shows. And speaking of winnings, a good way to start an evening´s entertainment could be at the President Remon racetrack on Thursdays when the card extends after dark for nighttime racing.
Not exactly “night life” but a wonderful evening event is the folklore show at Las Tinajas. This popular restaurant in Bella Vista presents exuberant professional Panamanian shows Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Hard Rock Hotel is another nightlife destination. Performers add to a bustling scene at the landmark hotel. Next door, the Lobby Bar at the Decapolis Hotel is another favorite.
When you leave the capital city for adventures in the “interior” you will not necesarily be looking for nightlife, but all over, you’ll find that Panama loves to party. Even the tranquil mountain town of Boquete has a thumping little club called La Cabaña that sees quite a bit of movement on the weekends. Over in Bocas del Toro, the party never stops. And in Colón the beat plays on.