Casco Viejo has what seems like an infinite amount of options for indoor places to explore. With boundless cozy cafés and restaurants, as well as boutiques and historical landmarks, Casco Viejo is home to the favorite coffeehouse in Panama City, Casa Sucre. Head over for its divine Panamanian coffee and delectable food and stay for its lovely ambiance, cozy décor, and large windows for watching anyone that braves the rain. You’ll notice Panamanians act as if the rain isn’t a huge obstacle and just accept it as part of their routines. Their incredible grace when it rains is enlightening.
If it’s later in the day or you’re feeling the five-o’clock-somewhere vibe, Pedro Mandinga Rum Bar is another fantastic destination in Casco Viejo. What the bar does best is in its name—rum—though it does have a full bar, a list of signature cocktails, and an inviting happy hour; everything you venture to try will be exceptionally tasty. The friendly staff makes it even easier to sit back, relax, and enjoy your elixir as you watch the rain fall from the bar’s large, open windows. You can later browse an eclectic local art market, Villa Agustina, located directly across the street from Pedro Mandinga.
The most comfortable and welcoming place to be when the rain falls in El Cangrejo is New York Bagel Café on Via Argentina. With bottomless coffee—a rarity in Panama City—and fresh-baked bagels, as well as a full menu of breakfast and lunch food, New York Bagel Café is a favorite of locals and expats as well as travelers. Most who visit it do so for the endless coffee and simple, yet cozy, spacious environment.
Upon entering the café, make sure to check out the large message board on the wall to the left of the door where locals generally post invitations to a variety of great opportunities and adventures in Panama. Beyond the board is the tiny, local art store, Pronoia. Pop in to see the authentic Panamanian art and crafts for sale.
If it’s later in the evening and you’re feeling like a party, the two-level music venue near Avenida Balboa, El Apartamento y El Sotano, is all you’ll need. These two live music venues, one on top of the other, keep the drinks flowing all night long and are both very affordable. They will occasionally offer a flat rate for an open bar option as well. The food menu is limited and only fit for late-night snacking, but still delicious.
These lively venues are small spaces with great dance floors, making for an intimate night of live music and dancing the Panamanian way. Chances are, even if the sky clears up and the rain stops, once you’re here, you won’t want to go anywhere else—especially if you’re a fan of enjoying music with like-minded music lovers and music makers from all over the globe.