Panama Hattie's passes the time test. For several years, the indoor/outdoor establishment continued attracting crowds. Some customers were lured by the waterway setting, others persuaded by a menu specializing in seafood, and some visitors simply came to dance the night away on weekends or listen to live acoustic music during midweek. Many returned ready to experience a facet of Hattie's missed during a previous visit.
I always enjoyed the patio tiki bar with its rustic setting, seafaring ornaments, wood floors, brightly colored lights, bench seating, and bandstand set behind a dance floor able to accommodate about 10 couples, with more spilling over into the aisles. While the surrounding neighborhood blossomed with new residents and more people moving into Palm Beach County, Panama Hattie's managed to retain its simple style and don't worry-be happy impression.
An important part of the entertainment lineup is the band Coconutheads, a Florida-based reggae group that plays highly enjoyable original compositions as well as Bob Marley covers. It's difficult for anyone to stay seated when the band weaves its musical magic over the varied age audience this nightspot attracts.
Wednesdays and Thursdays, musician Rich Mojica usually entertains, playing acoustic music on the outside patio.
Whether traveling to Panama Hattie's by car or water taxi, a visit here can be a very pleasurable experience.
Nightlife news Tonight/Saturday: Damon Wayans, a member of that famous urban comedy family, is in town. The star of ABC's My Wife and Kids and the upcoming movie Homey the Clown, has four shows this weekend. Hours are 8:30 and 10:45 p.m. tonight and Saturday at Miami Improv, Streets of Mayfair, 3390 Mary St., Coconut Grove (305-441-8200). Tickets $37.45.
Saturday: Visit Porter's Place, 4535 N. Pine Island Road, Sunrise (954-741-6850). The sports bar and full service restaurant with live entertainment is owned and operated by former NFL player Daryl Porter.
Sunday: Scoot your boots. Learn country line dancing from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Round Up, 9020 State Road 84, Davie (954-423-1990). Stick around for country music by the house DJ.
Monday: Stop by Cafe del Mar, 213 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. (954-767-8233) for a beautiful beach setting, two-for-one drinks at the bar, light bites or dinner, and starting at 8 p.m., entertainment by a talented Spanish guitarist and singer.
Wednesday: Have a blast at Sonar, 2006 Hollywood Blvd. (954-920-8777). The nightspot has a retro-futuristic design and DJs spinning house and electronic music.
Thursday: Find karaoke hosted by DJ Ace and a lot of local fraternizing at Roy's, West Sample Road, Margate (954-255-8108). This neighborhood saloon also serves food, shows sports on TV and provides pool tables, darts and electronic games.
Staff writer Jeremy Lang can be reached at email@example.com. or 954-356-2338. Joan Brazer Durante, a freelance writer based in Plantation, writes the nightlife news portion of this column. News of local entertainment events and performers should be e-mailed to jbdurante @aol.com .