Kick Back and Relax at Rio de Janeiro's Best Beach Bars

Nothing says 'welcome to Rio', more than kicking back with a tangy caipirinha cocktail at a Rio de Janeiro beach bar.

The combination of crashing ocean waves, white floodlit sands and refreshing sea breezes make for an intoxicating combination and just a few sips of the national cocktail will really have your head in a spin.

Whether you are people watching at Copacabana, taking in the ocean views at Ipanema or admiring the stylish locals at Leblon, drinking at a Rio de Janeiro beach bar is always a feast for the senses. 

Rio de Janeiro beach bars are as varied as they are plentiful - simply stroll along the sands at Ipanema or Copacabana and you'll be spoiled for choice. Both beaches are lined with bars that range from simple family-run kiosks with plastic tables and chairs to sophisticated bar-restaurants serving imported Champagne and elaborately-constructed cocktails. 

And while drinking in these fashionable quarters of the city can be expensive, stiff competition among beachfront vendors means that prices are generally lower than in more formal bars. 

Visitors looking for something a little more upmarket have plenty of choice, too.  Just steps from the beaches lie some of the city's favorite A-lister hangouts, such as Baretto-Londra, and cool bar-restaurants such as Bar Astor. 

You won't find our top pick at these legendary beaches, but Bar e Restaurante Urca is worth the diversion from the main tourist track. Grab a caipirinha and a bite to eat and join the locals propped up on the harbour wall to enjoy chilled al-fresco drinking with a gorgeous backdrop of boats, beach, mountains and the Christ Statue. 

At Ipanema´s farthest point from Copacabana, a small canal marks the division between Praia do Ipanema and Praia do Leblon. Flanked by the towering Dois Irmaos (two brothers) mountains and with waters that are slightly calmer than elsewhere on...  Read More

This retro-chic bar in front of Ipanema beach maintains a sense of fun while taking its food and drinks seriously. Top foodie picks are the seafood and pasta dishes, while the cocktail list is staggeringly long- there is even a menu entirely...  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

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

For the ultimate indulgent Rio experience, head to the Pergula, the elegant poolside restaurant at the enduringly elegant Copacabana Palace hotel. Less formal than the hotel's fine dining Italian restaurant, Cipriani. at Pergula you can dine in...  Read More

While Copacabana wins out as the most picture-perfect city beach in Rio, Ipanema is easily the more chic of the two neighboring stretches of sand, and this is a wonderfully scenic spot for a late-night drink. Less flanked by high rise hotels...  Read More

Thanks to an enviable location at Copacabana's closest point to Ipanema, Atlantis offers stunning views that take in the length of Copacabana beach. An outdoor seating area makes the most of these sweeping vistas, and the food on offer is just...  Read More

Garota da Urca
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

This welcoming spot by the beach in the gentile neigbourhood of Urca is actually part of a Rio bar-restaurant chain, but is no less appealing for that. The location, right by the sands and within a few minutes' stroll from Sugar Loaf mountain,...  Read More

Copacabana Beach
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

Copacabana´s beach bars have come a long way since the turn of turn of the millennium, when they were little more than a collection of yellow-roofed kiosks serving beer and caipirinhas to tourists lounging on plastic chairs. While these cheap...  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


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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