Greatest Spots for Drinking and Dancing in Ipanema

Rio de Janeiro is famously one of the world's greatest party cities, but visitors looking for a wild night out in the upscale neighborhood of Ipanema will find the nightlife scene surprisingly sedate - at first glance, at least. This refined bairro is better known for its high end restaurants, chic bars and sophisticated lounges than its raucous party venues (most of these can be found downtown, in Lapa), but that's not to say that fun time is not to be had here. The well-to-do types that live in the neighborhood love to socialize over a few drinks and plates of food at late-opening bars such as Bar Astor and Devassa, while fans of Brazilian music can make the pilgrimage to Garota de Ipanema, the spot where Bossa Nova classic Girl From Ipanema was penned, before checking out live jazz at excellent beachfront venue Studio RJ. For a chance to meet fellow travelers as well as friendly Brazilians, there's a fun and flirtatious vibe at enduringly popular Irish bar Shenanigans, while the kiosks along the beachfront are wonderful places to sip a caipirinha against one of the most stunning backdrops imaginable. Whether it's a sunset drink and nibbles to start the evening or a last beer as the sun rises over the beach, Ipanema's beach bars are an integral part of Rio nightlife. For those lucky enough to be in Rio for the sensory explosion that is carnival, the myriad blocos, or street parties, that take place during this most famous of celebrations attract hundreds of thousands to shake their stuff en-mass to the sound of samba beats. 

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

Gringo Cafe
Photo courtesy of Fabienne D/Flickr

Aimed squarely at North Americans with a hankering for taste of their homeland, Gringo Cafe does a roaring trade in US DIner-style favorites such as hash browns, bottomless coffees, pancakes, waffles and French toast, as well as delicious cakes,...  Read More

Garota de Ipanema (Girl From Ipanema) is the spot where the legendary bossa nova song of the same name was penned. The songwriters Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes were inspired by a beautiful girl who passed by the window of the bar as they...  Read More

As colorful, flamboyant and attention-grabbing as the city itself, Rio Carnival is a four-day celebration that demands that you throw caution and inhibition to the wind. While the British eat pancakes to mark the four days before lent, here...  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

This lively bar prides itself on cheerful service and a warm welcome, and it would take a concerted effort not to feel at ease in the relaxed surrounds. By day, the bar is a top choice for a sandy-footed crowd looking for post-beach sustenance,...  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


The Devassa chain brews its own beers in a range of flavors and alcohol strengths, and while their marketing is playful, they take their brewing seriously. Here you might want to try a malt beer or a --loira--(blonde) beer, which are served ice...  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

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


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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