The most frequent question we get these days is, "Is Habanos open or shut down because of Covid?" And then the questions roll in concerning where the new spots are and what's the Nightlife actually like because people hear conflicting stories about the curfews etc. I am going to break it down as best as possible to give you an updated insight into Panama City's nightlife.
What's the deal with Habanos?
Let's start with Habanos since that is the number 1 question asked. Is it open? Short answer, yes. It has definitely seen better days though. The infamous bar, notorious for its plethora of abled-bodied women looking to make "friends" for the night is pretty lackluster. On any given night it'll probably be sporting about 30% of the talent it used to hold making it appear not as attractive when driving by to see if you want to pop in or not. You can definitely go in, but they may try to force you to buy some food, which is some weird new rule that only some bars actually enforce - the majority not, but with Habano's struggling as it is, I can see why they're trying to make a buck wherever they can.
My speculation as to why Habano's hasn't fully recovered yet is probably due to the fact that it's an open air space that can be heavily scrutinized by those just off the street allowing for prying eyes (either those of police or health ministry) to judge and more easily claim violation of whatever health directive. I imagine this to be the primary cause of its downturn whereas closed door institutions have become the main hotspots.
Moving On - What's Hot
So if Habanos isn't the hotspot to grab a drink and enjoy some eye candy; where is?
I would say, the number 1 spot these days is Red Lion in Obarrio, with its lounge couches, club-like ambiance, very friendly hostesses (& non-hostesses), and the large velvet curtains blacking out the outside world. Here, you can relax and enjoy yourself without the scrutiny or worries of the street. The women are friendly and booze is flowing with reggaeton/ Latino vibes. You can cruise through whenever you want or we can make sure you got the lounge couches set up with some bad betties on stand by.
What's the Deal with Curfews?
Yes, Panama still does have some curfews in place, but this should not detract you from the trip. You just shift the party a bit. Throughout the city, everything shuts down by 12 (midnight). So, I hope you picked right when it comes to accommodations if you want to take the party back to your spot or... if the group is all about that marching powder and vampire lifestyle then you can opt to do a lock-in at one of the speakeasys (bares clandestinos) across the city. For obvious reasons I will not be posting the names of these places online and honestly, I probably won't even tell you until you're actually our clients because I gotta save a little mystique for the trip before you get here.
The other alternative for dealing with the curfew is simply day party hard. Opt for the yacht party, jungle pool party, or mansion pool party.
What about the Club Scene?
Clubs have shifted their design a bit to be more restaurant-focused, just because they had to be given permission to reopen. A few are skirting this mandate a little bit as the evening hours become night. Open-air spots have become the dominant clubs, filling up every weekend. With the pandemic having killed off businesses, not every bar/club survived and those that have are packed! So if you're thinking you're just going to show up and club hop - think again. You have to have reservations throughout the city and especially in Casco Viejo (nightlife district). Each night typically has a main event - so check in with our hosts to be in the know about what the event of the night is so we can make sure you got a table or else you'll be having a FOMO night bouncing around between C-grade spots.
Basically, the nightlife scene is moving and the places are full, but more than ever it has be pre-set up and planned when going out right. We know Panama City and have our ears to the ground to make sure we are on top of the industry changes. If you want to make the most of your Panama City trip then don't hesitate to reach out to us at Your Concierge in Panama.