Paul Aron, Michael Forde and Brett Robinson – the partners behind inner-city all-rounder Tiny’s bring Perth the pleasures of neotropical drinking and dining.
Panama Social opened late December 2018 at the former Cyril Mason’s site on William Street. It’s a loud, freewheeling ode to the countries and culture of the Neotropics, a region that includes south and central America and the Caribbean.
The 120-person space is full of bright colours, and timber flooring and indoor plants keep the mood relaxed. Colourful artwork from Luke O’Donohoe chimes with the summery, tropical brief, as do the names of the three private booths: Maradona’s Den, Frida’s Blue Room and The House of Ricky Martin.
Bartenders work with rum, tequila, pisco and many a house-made ingredient, and easygoing cocktails, such as a Pandan Pina Colada, are all about fun rather than bartender showboating.
Rather than go for note-perfect renditions of dishes from the region, the menu finds common ground between all of the area’s cuisines.
There’s fried chicken ribs doused in jerk sauce, and a bright Caribbean-style green curry made with top-shelf seafood. The pao de quejio (Brazilian fried cheese doughnuts) are the stuff of bar snacking dreams and form part of Panama Social’s late-night drink-friendly weekend menu.