When six bartenders from New York City — who happen to be the people behind iconic cocktail bars Macau Trading Company and Employees Only — made a trip to Panama to visit a rum distillery and some sugarcane fields, they were captivated by the rich history and culture of the country. Together with two local partners, they developed a cocktail bar that would bring their shared expertise to the local market.

Designed by Dutch East Design, The Strangers Club borrows its name from a bar that operated from the 1920s to the 1970s in Colon, Panama. It spans 2,500 square feet across two floors. The upper floor doubles as event or overflow space. Typical of buildings of this scale throughout Panama’s historic district, the upper floor’s balcony, running the full perimeter, serves as an awning for the street below. Original wood architectural details have been restored, and it was very important that the interior design honor the building’s history and neighborhood.

Images courtesy of Jessie English