From Chic to Chill: The Best Bars in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro bars range from super-chic posing palaces to uber-rustic hole in the wall drinking dens, and where you choose to drink in Rio will in some part be determined by your budget - you´ll need some serious spending money and some seriously stylish clothes if you intend to sip a caipirinha at some of the exclusive spots in the picturesque Zona Sul (South Zone). If your budget is more modest, the lively bars of Copacabana,  Lapa and Santa Teresa offer fun times without alarming price tags.

Our number one pick of Rio de Janeiro´s abundant watering holes, Bar do Gomez in Santa Teresa, is a great place to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon, while Bip Bip in Copacabana should be the first port of call for music lovers keen to hear seriously good jam sessions in a very informal atmosphere.

A very dressy crowd heads to Pergula, the poolside bar at the enduringly glamorous Copacabana Palace, and this is a wonderfully romantic spot for a special occasion.

For drinks with a unbeatable view, it´s hard to beat the sunset vista from Azul Marinho in Arpoador (the point at which Ipanema and Copacabana meet) although the beach kiosks of Ipanema and Copacabana have plenty of wow factor too.

Ranked the best hotel bar in the world by style bible Wallpaper, this hip hangout at the upmarket Fasano Rio hotel is open to non-guests - but be prepared to book well in advance and pay steep prices for your immaculately-prepared drinks.The bar...  Read More

Urca, the tranquil neighborhood that is home to Sugar Loaf mountain, warrants a longer visit than many tourists permit for in their itineraries, and there are few better spots in the city to linger over a beer and a bite to eat than this...  Read More

The name translates as 'little bar', but this lively Lapa hangout packs a lot into its less than palatial layout. The small plates and bar snacks are famous, and make tasty companions to something from the extensive drinks list. Regular events...  Read More

It might not look like much, but this unassuming hole in the wall bar in Copacabana is one of the top spots in RIo to hear live music. The location on a Copacabana backstreet manages to attract some of the most skilled musicians in town, who...  Read More

Academia da Cachaca
Photo courtesy of Daniel Bonatto/Flickr

Brazil's famously potent national drink, cachaca, is celebrated in all its myriad forms at this lively little bar that has become a Leblon nightlife institution. The national firewater may have a reputation for being as harsh on the palate as it...  Read More

A relative newcomer to Santa Teresa´s famously lively drinking scene, Portella occupies a prime spot right at the heart of the party action. Live samba music fills the air here, while the windows that open onto the neighborhood´s main...  Read More

Located in the historic heart of Lapa, this reformed colonial mansion home has received a colorful makeover with illuminated artworks on the brick walls, vibrantly-colored cocktails and an equally bright and breezy playlist. An eclectic musical...  Read More

In a neighborhood where many bars are formal and a little stuffy, Jobi is a breath of fresh air. The early-opening, late-closing Leblon institution is a fine example of the Rio boteco - botecos being informal bars serving food and good company...  Read More

With a prime location on the main drinking and dining strip in leafy, artsy Santa Teresa, Bar do Mineiro is the focal point for the neighborhood's famously lively social scene. As the name suggests, the menu bears the culinary influences of...  Read More

This Santa Teresa bar-restaurant was opened by a family of Spanish settlers in Brazil in 1919, when it doubled as a grocery store. The official name, Armazem Sao Thiago references this, but for decades this most inviting of watering holes has...  Read More


Meet Lucy Bryson

Lucy is a British freelance writer living in Rio de Janeiro since 2007. While there are some things she misses about her home country, the lure of year-round sunshine has proved too powerful to resist.

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