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Every Panama City rooftop bar you need to know about
Rooftop Bars in Panama City

Every Panama City rooftop bar you need to know about

What better place to feel the wind in your hair than in a fabulous, cloud-caressing rooftop? There’s something so effortlessly chic about them. There are so many rooftop bars in Panama City. In the old town of Casco Viejo, one is particularly spoilt for choice. The scope of rooftop bars means that if you aren’t content where you are, you can essentially peer over your shoulder and peek at how things are going at the other nearby rooftops, which you can either see directly or hear the music playing from. Panama City is an urban wonderland filled with music-loving Panamanians who relish in dressing well. So, get your dancing shoes on, and join the glitterati in the sky.

 1. Tantalo

Take your Panama City experience to new heights with a visit to Tantalo. This is one of the most popular rooftop bars in Panama City and has been the pulsating heartbeat of Casco Viejo’s nightlife scene for many years. Tantalo is actually a ten-room boutique hotel with a bar and restaurant on the ground floor, however, the rooftop terrace is the jewel in their crown.

The sunset-lovers start arriving in the late afternoon to wine and dine on quinoa and chickpea salads, sautéed octopus with coconut milk, and other fine culinary creations. The servers occasionally wear Panama hats, which actually say ‘Panama’ on them, serving as an amusing reminder of where you are.

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2. Gatto Blanco

Next door to Tantalo, is yet another fantastic rooftop bar, Gatto Blanco, which has an intimate and unassuming atmosphere and often hosts live music sessions. Musicians are even invited to bring their own instruments to jam long. Gatto Blanco is the rooftop bar of Casa Nuratti Boutique Hotel. Make your way through the ever-stylish foyer to get the lift up to Gatto Blanco and admire the wording on the staircase just before the bar.

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3. Capital Bistro Panamá

At the very entrance of Casco Viejo, one bar stands out among the rest, tempting prospective patrons with an enticing view of the Pacific. Capital Bistro is a scintillating outdoor bar on the banks of the water – any closer and you would be in it. Their scrumptious signature cocktails coupled with the string lit ocean view, makes this one very magical evening out indeed. Be prepared to drop a bit of cash, however.

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4. Casa Casco

Casa Casco feels utterly elegant, but the staff aren’t too fancy to play dress up. On special occasions (such as Mexican national day), the terrace bartenders will don sombreros or whatever props they can get their hands on, to spruce up your experience.

Casa Casco is the name of the entire building and the first three floors house three independently run restaurants: Marula, Nación Sushi and Mano de Tigre. The fourth floor is the nightclub, Casco Club and finally, the fifth floor is the site of the decadent terrace bar with panoramic vistas. Upon arrival at the roof terrace, you will be asked if you would prefer the city or sea view. What a laborious choice that is.

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 5. Cabana

Cabana sneaks onto this list despite not really being a rooftop. It’s actually a terrace and more of a restaurant but it’ll elevate any evening owing to the impressive design and views. It’s in Yoo Panama, a very smart residential building that’s right on Avenida Balboa. It’s worthy of inclusion for the gin cocktails and proximity to Panama Bay. Be sure to sit outside.

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6. Lazotea

Lazotea was one of the first of the rooftop bars in Panama City to have a swimming pool you could actually swim in. It’s a fabulous place for parties and I myself celebrated a recent birthday there. A wonderful local band played live and set up shop right above the illuminated pool. It was certainly one for the books and this will forever be one of my favourite rooftop bars in Panama City. Watch out for their Sunday pool party series.

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7. Compadre

Ever been to a barbershop / tattoo studio / bar / rooftop lounge? Well, that’s Compadre for you. It’s Lazotea’s next-door neighbour and the rooftop is on the fourth floor so you’ll have some stairs to contend with to reach the intimate, cosy setting at the top. 

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8. Panaviera

Experience the envy-inducing view at Panaviera at least once in your life. When next will you be able to say that you saw the sun set at the highest pool bar in Panama and Central America as a whole? Panaviera sits pretty on the 66th floor of the Ocean Sun Casino next door to the iconic, sail-shaped JW Marriott Hotel. Lamentably, you can’t actually enter the pool, but you probably wouldn’t want to anyway given how spectacularly you dressed for the occasion (hint).

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9. Numen

In one of Casco Viejo’s most iconic buildings, you’ll find Numen. It’s the rooftop bar of La Concordia Boutique Hotel. On the ground floor is the fusion restaurant Lola Mia. It’s practically a must to ascend to Numen after your photogenic meal.

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10. W Panama

Given that Panama City is blessed with year-round warm weather, what better way to enjoy the delightfully brisk air, than poolside with a cocktail in hand? The W hotel’s WET Deck is a welcome addition to the Panama City rooftop bar scene. 

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11. Selina

In 2019, Selina opened its first Panama City hostel-cum-hotel-cum-coworking wonderland and decked out the rooftop with large graffiti murals, a branch of Tacos la Neta, two themed bars – and a swimming pool. 

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12. Salvaje

This international hospitality brand touched down in the old town of Casco Viejo in 2018 and proceeded to make serious waves. The staff wear La Casa de Papel-style boiler suits and know a thing or two about showing customers tender loving care. The tropical decor and wizard DJs make this one of the hottest tickets in town on weekends. The view isn’t bad either. Life is good.

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Rosie Bell is a location-independent writer, editor and author of ‘Escape to Self’ and ‘The Art & Business of Travel Writing’. She offers workshops and online courses on writing, freelancing and entrepreneurship. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @TheBeachBell.

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