The leafy hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa is truly a world unto itself in Rio de Janeiro. The steep cobbled streets, lively squares and close-knit community give it the sense of a small village in the midst of the big city. But while tourists flock to the bars and restaurants that fan out from Largo do Guimaraes - the square around which much of the bairro ("neighborhood") socializing is based - few make it just a few minutes farther uphill to Bar do Bonde.
Bar do Bonde is a breezy, bohemian spot in Santa Teresa — Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson
Currently, this friendly bar/restaurant attracts a mainly local crowd, with customers flocking here to enjoy al fresco drinks on the sidewalk tables and chairs, while nibbling on treats such as bolinhos do risotto - little fried risotto balls filled with your choice of cheese, shrimp or meat.
There are occasional live music treats, as well, such as sporadically-held Saturday night choro and samba sessions.
Make the most of the local spirit while it lasts. The bar is named in honor of the famous Santa Teresa street car, or bonde, which has been out of action for repairs since 2011, but is set to make a return to the rails in 2014 in time for the FIFA World Cup. With the bar enjoying a prime location in front of the tram tracks, it is sure to attract hordes of visitors once the trolley begins to rattle past.