13 May, 2014

If you don’t know your caipirinhas (cocktails) from your botecos (bars), you have not been to Rio (Brazil) and no introduction will do.

If, however, you’ve shared an ice-cold chope with some loud, beautiful and utterly tanned cariocas at the Copa, no introductions are necessary.

No matter if you are into reggae, rock, pop, jazz, or Brazilian hip-hop, the bar scene in Rio has something for everyone – even those gringos still stuck in the 80s…

1. Armazém São Thiago / Bar do Gomez

Bar do Gomez is not just another popular local haunt, but a living breathing time machine with its own authentic flavour. The old jars, rusty tins and ancient bottles of Cachaça lining the walls look like they haven’t been touched since the “grocery shop” first opened in the early 1920s. If your idea of great time includes a rustic atmosphere, delicious food, caring staff and cheap party liquids, Bar do Gomez should be on top of your to-do list.

2. Rio Scenarium

Is it a Samba club, a restaurant or the set of the Antiques Roadshow? Rio Scenarium is a vintage party museum and a tourist attraction in its own right. The venue is popular with both Cariocas (Rio locals) and tourists and features some of Brazil’s top live musicians. The sultry Samba beats, scrumptious treats and quirky decor is a fiercely potent, so don’t be alarmed when you feel yourself slipping into a pleasurable state of timelessness. 

3. Cervejaria Devassa

Bar Devassa is what happens when you open a bar in a microbrewery and then go about colonising the city. Devassa’s premium brews are sold all over Brazil and with names like Loura, Negra and Sarará offer the connoisseur a bevy of bubbly personalities to choose from. Prices are surprisingly affordable and the all-you-can-eat buffet is a life-saver.

Read more: Five incredible things to taste and try in Brazil

4. Bar D’Hotel

Bar D’ Hotel is located in the Marina All Suites Hotel and a dash more exclusive and glamorous than the average Boteco or corner pub. With great decor comes great promise and Bar D’Hotel delivers unashamedly with stunning beach views, delicious bistro-style cuisine and some funky cocktails. If it’s elegance and sophistication you are after this is a place to remember.

5. Melt

Melt is one part up-market eatery, one part rocking club and all parts VIP. The rather intimate venue is split between a restaurant and pub on the first level and dance floor on the upper level. The Samba groups, great snacks and live deejay spinning electric till late seems to be a magnet for the chic and trendy. Be sure to show up before 10pm and pick a Tuesday night.

6. Bar Jobi

For over 5 decades Jobi has been the home of the perfect chope; a super-chilled drink in a tall glass that tastes suspiciously like the best draft beer you never knew existed. The relaxed vibe, friendly staff and walls adorned with awards are impressive but it’s the sidewalk seating, fresh seafood and proximity to the beach that makes Jobi a local legend.

7. Blue Agave Copa

Blue Agave Copa is Nacho and Taco heaven! The Tex-Mex styled Bar and restaurant draws an eclectic mix of patrons and the combo meal deals are unbeatable. This is the perfect place for a hearty lunch and a bit of people watching.

8. Cervantes, Copacabana

Cervantes may be a small Brazilian bar but what they lack in space they more than make up for with their designer sandwiches. It’s proximity to the beach, swift service and English menus make Cervantes an excellent spot to pop in for a quick bite noon or night. 

Read more: Top 10 Boutique Beach Hotels in Brazil

9. Bar dos Descasados

Nestled inside the exquisite Santa Teresa Design Concept Hotel is Rio’s most romantic cocktail bar complete with lush tropical decor, soothing Bossa Nova beats and sweeping views from the terrace. Ironically, “Descasa” actually means to get divorced, to separate or to be disturbed…

10. Shenanigan’s Irish Pub

Whether you’re a thirsty Flashpacker looking for a friendly place with great live music and a descent pool table, or a homesick expat in need of a soothing Guinness; Shenanigans is “ye golden olde” when it comes to slamming party joints. We were not going to include traditional pubs on this distinguished list, but the monster cheeseburgers we that day forced our hand! 

Crunching this list down to only 10 of the best bars, clubs, pubs and restaurants in Rio was no easy task. If you think we missed a hotspot the world should know about, drop it in the comment box! Salud!


Read more

Why your 30s and 40s are the best time to travel with your parents

Read more
Ed Stafford: adventure will help you grow

Ed Stafford: Being positively selfish is the key to personal growth

Read more
Street food healthy eating

8 of the world's tastiest street foods that are actually healthy

Read more