The Best Beach Bars in Rio's Buzzing Copacabana

After years suffering from a reputation as Ipanema's seedier neighbor, Rio's Copacabana beach was seriously spruced up for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and is now back to its buzzing best. The famous black-and-white swirled promenade throngs with walkers, runners and skateboarders virtually 24/7, and there are drinking and dining opportunities  every step of the way along the five kilometer beachfront.

Kiosks line the promenade, and cover the spectrum from simple plastic-table-and-chairs establishments serving cans of beer and cheap caipirinhas, to smart bars offering French gourmet dishes and chilled Champagne.

There's no wrong time for a drink on Copacabana beach, either. Locals sip beers at any time of day or night, and nobody will look askance if you start your day with a caipirinha - hey, this is Rio, and you're on vacation.

The bars open late into the night, too, making them the perfect place to start and end a night out in city - it's common to spot partiers sipping one last drink as the sun rises over the beach.

Across the busy oceanfront road, there's a wealth of bar-restaurants that will happily serve bar snacks and drinks if you don't feel like a full meal, while Pergula, the chic poolside bar at elegant Copacabana Palace, is the place to come for something super-chic. Nearby, at Arpoador, there are beachfront bars with stunning sunset views.


This traditional bar-restaurant in Rio is famous for its late opening hours and its alcohol-absorbing food as well as its lively atmosphere. Cervantes now has several branches in Rio, but this Copacabana was the first and is still arguably the...  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

New Year's at Copacabana
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

There's no better place in Rio to ring in the New Year than Copacabana beach. Millions of happy revelers, magnificent fireworks displays, live bands and music and a sparkling of Rio magic make for a truly memorable night. Tradition...  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

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

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

This lively and laid back beachfront restaurant in Copacabana is among the best of the many options on tourist-focused Avenida Atlantica. Don't bother with indoor dining here, the main reason to come is the vast covered deck facing the ocean,...  Read More

Seafood, sea views, ice cold beers and a chilled vibe make this one of the most popular of Copacabana's many beach bars. It's located at Posto 3 - lifeguard post three - making it pretty much midway along the beachfront, so it's a good place to...  Read More

This kebab-focused food and drink spot has several branches in Rio, but the one at the Leme end of Copacabana beach is the most appealing, thanks to its stellar location. Tables and chairs are set up in front of the outdoor bar which sits atop a...  Read More

Your afternoon beer or early evening cocktail comes with a refreshing sea breeze and stunning sea views at this al-fresco spot in the grounds of Copacabana Fort. Breakfast is served at several outdoor table and, while service can be a little...  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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