Panama City, Panama

A moment of solitude in the lobby bar of the American Trade Hotel. Photo: Spencer Lowell/Courtesy of the American Trade Hotel
Illustration by Murphy Lippincott

A night out with Mario Castrellón, restaurateur (Maito, Humo, Botanica) and creator of Menu Panama.

“In Panama you’ll find everything from rich Venezuelans ordering bottle service at the Hard Rock to divey roof terraces with cheap beer. I usually like to start the night somewhere down the middle, in Casco Viejo, the part of town that dates to the 1600s, where you can explore the Mercado de Mariscos and the Panama Canal Museum before hitting the town. I’ll have a Manhattan in the lobby bar of the American Trade Hotel (Plaza Herrera; 507-211-2000), which is also home to Danilo’s, the best jazz club in the city. Afterward, I’ll Uber it over to El Apartamento (Ave. Federico Boyd; 507-269-7877), an unmarked bar in a two-story yellow house that’s like going to the crappy apartment of a friend. And I might pop into a casino before heading to Costa Azul (Calle Ricardo Arias; 507-269-0409) for homey Panamanian food like sancocho or hojaldre to soak up the booze.”

Where he’d crash: “The landmarked American Trade Hotel (from $175; has bright tiles, high ceilings, and a pool on the terrace.”


Panama City, Panama