If you are in Panama City and looking for concentrated nightlife or bars then there really are only a handful of neighborhoods where you can hop in and out of different locales without too much walking. The Via Argentina neighborhood is probably one of my favorites in the middle of downtown. It maintains that neighborhood feel with large sidewalks along the main boulevard with trees lining the median. The whole street is filled with cafes, restaurants, and bars. There are no clubs in this area, but tons of bars so it is great for the afternoon pub crawl that oddly ends up stretching late into the night.
So if you’re looking for a great pub crawl around the city I’m going to break down my recommendation to making the best of a pub-tastic afternoon on Via Argentina.
La Rana Dorada
To kick off the crawl you start at Rana Dorada, known for their craft beer, whose beer is good, but does not warrant the high price tag. So, you start here during happy hour where the beer is 50% off. Their pale ale and IPA do have a bit strength to them, so it will get the buzz going quick with one or two pints. The place fills up, so it is another reason to get here early and post up outside on the patio. The vibe is more of an American north eastern white collar bar, so they’re trying to be classy.
After you’ve had a few strong craft beers at Rana and happy hour is coming to an end, make your way down the street to Pedro Mandinga where it’s time to get your rum on! Known for their artisanal rum, it’s cheaper to grab a bottle at $45 and just pour your own rounds. This place maintains the classy vibe with a style that takes you back to the hey days of the Panama Canal. It’s a chic spot, but doesn’t usually fill up to bad. If you don’t finish the bottle and want to keep moving, then talk to the bartender and they’ll keep the bottle behind the bar for you for Pub Crawl part 2 the next time you’re in.
You don’t have to stumble far to get to the next destination, Murphy’s California Kitchen Pub. Hard to put my finger on the design esthetic here, but the crowd is fun and you’ll find lots of English speaking regulars to get drunk with and amplify the debauchery. By this point the group is most likely harder to motivate and drunk. So throw some darts, let loose here. No recommended drink – it’s a full bar with great prices and good company. You’ll probably run into the owner, Tom, who is always about chatting up the guests and making sure everyone is having a good time (with more booze in hand).
El Pavo Real
If by this point you can still see straight, you’ll probably end up here anyways as the night becomes later night. Pavo Real is the late night bar on the strip with pool tables and a more rock n’ roll vibe. With cheap draft beer and cocktails you’ll forget when you arrive and won’t know when you leave. You’ll run into a ton of characters here and probably make a few new friends. This place is open late and I’d probably just finish it here.
There are a few other spots along the street you can hop in and out of, but I’ve never known a good pub crawl going to 5 or more. Last time we ran a pub crawl on Via Argentina, I think we only made it to two of these in fact because when the drinks are flowing and company is good, you sort of lose track of time.