Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Picture of the Day: The Ancon Inn — El Paraiso de los Hombres Solteros

Ancon Inn 1a

The ink has faded with age, but not the memories I have of this club–the first club many service members checked out the first time they went to Panama City. I remember that there was a bus stop right in front of the door. You could hop, stagger, or stumble off the bus, right into the Ancon for a cold Atlas or Cerveza Panama or a Rum and Coke. From there it was down the street to the Ovalo or Paris. Maybe stopping off for some monkey meat along the way.

Ancon Inn 2aIn the two years I was stationed at Howard Air Force Base I checked out the Ancon a couple of times, but my favorite bar was the Ovalo and further down the street in the opposite direction, The Foxhole Bar.

Sixty beautiful hostesses? I never counted, but if the card says there were 60 of them, then there must have been. I wouldn’t have known or even bothered to have counted because I was usually pretty tanked when I went downtown with my buddies from Barracks 714.

The Ancon gets mentioned a few times in The Panama Affair and rightfully so.


  1. I wonder who you would get if you called that number now?

  2. I wonder if there’s any trace of the place now.
    Monkey meat just don’t sound too appealing to me, I know some Chinese would eat it to get smart.

  3. The Ancon Inn has been closed for a long time, maybe 10 years now. There was a fire there also some years ago. Walls are still standing though.

  4. I have a copy of the very same card, I was there from 77 to 79. Alot of memories stirred in you comments I remember frequenting all the places youmentioned ate my share of monkey meat too! I was in the 601st medical co. On ft. Clayton.

  5. No imagine how remember that place…in 1986 every night the Albrook to Ancon Inn… spend money in there….Panchito Mondefua….who opened the show……very nice memories…thank

  6. I too spent many nights there during my tour in Panama…Monkey meat was great at 4 A.M. after a night out….I have a token or two from Ancon Inn and a few other night clubs….

  7. Served with the U.S. Army at Quarry Heights 1964-1966. I have fond memories of many visits to the Ancon Inn. It was my favorite bar. As I remember, the juke box was to the right as you went in. One of our favorite tunes was “Satisfaction’ by The Rolling Stones. We drank Balboa beer and another kind I can’t recall at the moment.

  8. I was stationed at Howard from 68-70 and thoroughly enjoyed my tour. I remember the Ancon Inn as the place where the guys in the barracks took the new arrivals for a “get acquainted visit”. Once acquainted you as did all the rest of the guys got to contribute a small amount to the “fund” for the next new guy. Don’t know what the meat was that the street vendors just outside the door were selling. Don’t want to know either. As I recall they were 3 bamboo skewers full for a buck. The guys at the barracks called them “shitties on a stick”….they left the worst taste and breath the next day. They went down pretty easy though with a little Ron Cortez and coke.

  9. Jeffrey

    May 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Alamo308,

    Thanks for stopping by and your comments. I was always an Ovalo Man and also preferred the Black Paris and further on down the street, The Foxhole. I was like a heat sinking missile as soon as I got off the Chiva or Canal Zone bus in front of the Ancon–aimed right for the Ovalo (which was the first bar I ventured in my first time downtown). I always liked the two “bars” inside. Lots of room to move. Thanks again for chiming in and sharing your memories.

  10. I was just talking with someone about Ancon and found this. I was at the bar there in 1983. Cocaine was openly snorted at the tables there. The hookers – yeah they were hookers but they were pretty cute and definitely fun to chat with. Maybe I’ll go back one day.

  11. Oh yes, the Buffalo Bar. If I am not mistaken, that bar was off limits. Larry Easterly took a bunch of us new guys there one night. Larry loved to push the envelope when it came to going out in Panama City.

  12. John Segelbaum

    April 14, 2015 at 4:30 am

    First bar I was taken to for an introduction to Panama City upon arriving in Panama in 1969 as a naval officer stationed at Fort Amador. It was our clubhouse. Hookers playing pinball. No better pl;ace to escape the heat of the day. Monkey meat on the sidewalk outside. P. Jhangimahl up the street. Fourth of July got gentrified when they installed the Dairy Queen next door. The Foxhole was also a regular watering hole.

  13. You guys have great name memories , but panama screwed my memory up on names, I do know this tho my roomie married the owner of the Ancon Inns daughter, his name was Mike Baugh, from missouri, and for a fact they did add coca in in the drinks to keep you parting, I still wish I had the Ancon Ranger Shirt , it was bad ass , lookin forward to your book bro

  14. The Ancon Inn was the first bar I set foot in
    when I got to Panama, I was barely 19 young dum and full of $%m the girls loved that I was
    young and had a field day with me, Needless to say I was a very drunk and happy man when the night was over, till this day i can still see the face of the beautiful columbian girl who grabbed my junk as soon as i cleared the door
    Long Live Panama!!!

    • Doug, Exact same thing for me in 1972, I remember several hands grab me, lol. I remember a Panamanian girl named Judith, and a girl from Argentina named Jennifer. Then I’d hit the Pan Canal 1 & 2. My favorite girl there was Lucy from Columbia. Back then a guy could get lucky, eat at Napoli’s Rest, get a good buzz for less than $20.00.

      • I was stationed at Ft. Amador from 1972-1974 in the Army and worked in the Adjutant Office building over the PX I think in building 3. My girlfriend for 18 months was a pretty Panamanian girl named Sarah Final. She worked behind the bar at the Pan Canal. I literally work take the bus from Amador to see her nearly every night. I would take a taxi with her to her families house after she ended her shift. She lived in a rough area called the Limits. I promised I would marry her and take her back to Tampa but when my time ended I left. To this day I think of her and smiles but still feel bad how I lied.

  15. Lots of memories

  16. I also spent many hazy nites “downtown “ at the Ovalo and the Golden Key! ‘77-81.Bought your book asap.

  17. 1980 – 1983
    U.S.Army Communications Command
    Ancon Inn was the 1st bar I ever went there coming from Fort Clayton.

  18. October 12, 1980 – February 3, 1983
    U.S.Army Communications Command
    Ancon Inn – “Roberto Duran’s Bar”
    Fort Clayton as a Switchboard Operator

  19. I was stationed at Howard AFB 77-79 1978 Comm Gp. What a great time. Liked the Paris and Ovalo bar. Cervesa and monkey meat all night long. What a place. Found memories.

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