Santa Teresa is known as the artistic heart of Rio de Janeiro, but that doesn´t mean that this historic hilltop neighborhood is full of earnest intellectuals debating the relative merits of Degas and Cezanne over a vintage Merlot. In fact, this most scenic of neighborhoods is home to some of the most laidback watering holes in Rio, while street parties and open-air samba sessions are many and plenty during the summer months.
Largo do Guimaraes is the setting for many a Santa Teresa street party. — Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson
Bar hopping here is at its liveliest from Friday through Sunday, and any nocturnal visit to Santa Teresa should begin at Largo de Guimaraes, the square at the very heart of the neighborhood. Make this your jumping-off point (Buses call here and, from 2014, the famous Santa Teresa tram should be returning to the rails.), and you´ll find yourself surrounded by bars and bar/restaurants.
Take a stroll along the cobbled main street, Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno, to window shop the many bars and restaurants and see which of the establishments most appeals. Or just grab a drink from a street seller and watch as a street party atmosphere begins to take hold.
With jazz and samba sounds spilling from the windows of bars such as Portella, it is easy to while away many an hour here, but it's well worth making the short walk down the hill to Armazem Sao Thiago. Known locally as Bar do Gomez, this is one of the most traditional bars in the city. It's a great place to chat with locals and out-of-towners alike.