Panama Social, Perth – Neotropical, Colourful and Flavourful

Panama Social, Perth – Neotropical, Colourful and Flavourful

Next on my Perth bartineray was the suburb of Northbridge, just a five minute walk from Perth city centre. Northbridge is legendary for its food, coffee, shopping, arts and vibrant nightlife. Many small bars and other delights can be found in this area. Recently a neotropical hideaway opened its doors. Here comes another “nightlight” of my trip.

You will find Panama Social at the corner of the bustling William Street. As soon as you walk through the doors into the generously-sized venue, you know you’re in for an extraordinary adventure. As for the interior – think of a tropical country, huge wide-open windows, airy, lush green plants and massive fans rotating on the ceiling. It could be somewhere from tropical Mexico, a Caribbean island or South America.



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It is a restaurant bar with plenty of agave distillates, rum and pisco on the shelves. The interior decoration is colourful, the music and the green plants transport you straight to tropical climes.

Panama Social had just recently opened when I was there at the beginning of April. The place has a South American vibe and decoration with lovely bright colour, indoor plants and complementary music. Within their spirit selection you will find plenty of agave distillates, rum and pisco on the shelves. As always I took my seat at the small bar counter. I would estimate that the venue can host more than 100 people. It features three private booths called Maradona’s Den, Frida’s Blue Room and The House of Ricky Martin, some lower seating and bar spots. Perfect for any occasion, from a corporate cocktail party to intimate gatherings. There’s a real laidback coolness about this place and a warm welcoming spirit. Panama Social describes itself as:

A flurry of flashbacks and neotropical dreams. A soundtrack of food, drinks, music and colour. Panama Social is where you’ve been and where you’re going – through central America and back again. A mishmash of tropical food and poolside cocktails, all in a new twisted world on William Street.  (Retrieved from

A perfect definition and so we come to my favourite subjects: drinks and food. I love the holistic approach of serving all the things I need for my culinary pleasure in one place. The kitchen serves comfort food in an upscaled street food style. Fresh and uber tasty like the Tostada and Ceviche I had. Its mixture of influences is the same as its drinking concept.


I had the pleasure to talk to the wonderful bar manager, Tom Kearney, who guided me through the spirit idea. My first drink was tequila based, spiced with Ancho Reyes Verde, lemon and cucumber. My second choice from the menu – The Toucan with Pisco, Incaberry, Malbec, Lemon, Macadamia – hit the vibe of the place superbly. The house-made ingredients of the cocktail list are seductive and the drinks come perfectly balanced. For bigger groups they serve punch bowls as well as beer, cider and wine. Just go and try it yourself.

Drink at Mechanics Institute, too – just a stone’s throw away from Panama Social

Tom Kearney sent me further on to this institution that you just can’t miss. A lot of high quality booze, music, one of the earliest rooftop bars in Northbridge and one of Perth’s premier cocktail venues. Friends of the night and relaxed drinking, this is our place to disappear.

The cocktail list changes every couple of days, with just one exception. Their summer crowdpleaser Hillbilly Bob’s Ruckus Juice. A mix of lager, fresh lime juice, orgeat, spiced rum and ginger beer. And just in case you want to try this refreshment yourself: 8 cl lager, 3 cl lime, 2 cl orgeat, 4.5 cl spiced rum, topped up with ginger beer.

Visit Mechanics Institute Bar