The Blarney Stone Panama
“This is the first authentic Irish pub in the center of Panama City,” says Alan O Connell, proprietor of The Blarney Stone, recently opened just off Calle Uruguay, a long-established night-life hot spot. “We wanted a place close enough to Calle Uruguay without being completely ‘in it’,” says Alan about his Bella Vista location in the former digs of Spanish restaurant Pata Negra. The pub sits just off Avenida Federico Boyd on Calle 47, a stone’s throw from El Apartamento / El Sótano. Free parking across the street from the pub makes getting there a breeze. Valet service is available as well.
A native of Cork, a town in southern Ireland, Alan came to Panama five years ago on business. A romantic liaison with a Panamanian girl turned into marriage and a residency. Alan’s plan with The Blarney Stone is to build up a community around it by hosting events, tastings and game nights and by firmly establishing the bar with connoisseurs of fine spirits and Irish cuisine. Sports fans have already made it a choice spot for watching English Premier League soccer games.
Equipment from Ireland’s national sport, hurling, is displayed behind glass. Phrases allusive to Ireland line the walls, painted just the right shade of green and featuring photographs of famous Irish artists, writers, athletes and musicians. Add to this a constant rotation of the Emerald Isle’s best-known singers and musicians and you have the ideal immersive setting to experience The Blarney Stone’s delicious fare.
Here, pub grub gets the fancy treatment. “You can have a decently priced, very good meal and still be in a pub atmosphere,” says Alan. Pub goers can try any number of hearty dishes like Irish sausage, Shepard’s Pie or a Scotch egg –a half egg wrapped in ground pork served with Dijon mustard. The fish and chips are without compare.
International fare includes dishes like Panko shrimp, a Greek style lamb burger with Tzatziki sauce and paté with pickled onions. Everything pairs well with the beer selection which includes an exclusive brew from Costa del Este’s Casa Bruja Brewing Company along with several others of the line, most of them on tap.
“We’re waiting on about 12 different Irish beers that we’ll import into Panama,” says Alan, with sights set on being the first establishment of the country to offer Guinness on tap. “We have 20 mixed whiskeys,” he adds. Irish, Scottish and U.S. labels are represented. “We also want to start a whiskey club, something that can be combined with enjoying cigars.” Happy hour is Monday to Friday from 4 – 7 p.m.