The Strangers Club

Dutch East Design channeled the tropical and historical vibe of Central America to create the setting for The Strangers Club, a cocktail bar located in Panama City.

  • area / size 2,500 sqft
  • Year 2017
  • Location Panama City, Panama,
  • This project was the confluence of Dutch East Design’s continuing work in the Casco Viejo neighborhood located in Panama City, and their long relationship with clients, Macao Trading Company and Employees Only. In partnership with Carlos Esquivel and Celia Cañizales G., of Panama, the team of six bartenders set out to open a cocktail bar in the historic district of Panama City, blending the tropical and historical vibes of Central America with their own New York style.

    The Strangers Club encompasses a total of 2,500 SF across two floors. The ground floor houses the day-to-day action, while the top floor is designed as a private event space, and for use on special club nights. Typical of buildings of this scale throughout The Casco, the upper floor’s balcony, running the full perimeter, serves as an awning for the street below. The original wood architectural details of the building have been restored, paying homage to the rich history and local traditions of the neighborhood.

    The interior design follows the area’s vernacular, embracing the repurposed and salvaged aspects found throughout The Casco, in its various stages of decay and rejuvenation. Walls are hand-troweled stucco, with a datum to transition from sage green to white – a common condition in this context. The naturally stained beadboard ceiling with overhead fans, further capture the breezy tropical ambiance, as do the bentwood dining chairs and marble table tops.

    Dutch East Design thoughtfully repurposed a vintage wooden cabinet as a wait station, and Gabriel, one of the owners, shared the 100+ year old wooden shutters from his parents’ home to be installed against the back wall of the bar for a textural and visually intriguing detail. Custom banquettes were designed with loose cushions and open wood slats to further emphasize the theme of the space.

    Design: Dutch East Design
    Photography: Jessie English