Rio de Janeiro is a sociable city, and locals love to be get together and set the world to rights over a few ice-cold beers in the comfort of a laid-back botequim or boteco (informal bar).
The city has a staggering number of these places, ranging from hole-in-the-wall spots with plastic tables and chairs (known as pe sujo, or "dirty feet" bars, in honor of the type of flip flop-working physical laborer that traditionally frequents them) to smarter spots. The latter have recently been dubbed pe limpo or "clean feet" bars, serving cocktails and upmarket bar snacks to a dressier crowd.
One spot that manages to be both clean and comfortable yet wonderfully relaxed is the award-strewn Leblon boteco Jobi, which has been attracting the neighborhood's bohemian set for decades.
Jobi buzzes with animated conversation at all hours of the day and night — Photo courtesy of gTunes
A laid-back alternative to the more pretentious drinking establishments that have become synoymous with Leblon's upscale social scene, Jobi is the place to come for ice-cold beers, good conversation and delicious bar snacks.
The menu of petiscos ("light bites") is huge here, and patrons rave about the bolinhos de bacalhau. These little cod and potato balls crop up on the menu of virtually every bar in Rio, and the version at Jobi is often cited as the best in town.
Staff are always cheerful, chatty and speedy, and the huge queues that form outside the small bar on weekends is testament to the success of their upbeat serving style.
Jobi is the type of relaxed establishment that welcomes all ages and social types. Expect to see everybody from smartly dressed socialites to bearded academics rubbing shoulders at the bar. It's also a favorite post-beach spot for sun-seekers heading back from a lazy day on the sands at Leblon beach.
Open from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m., Jobi is a good place for an afternoon beer, an early evening caipirinha or a saideira (one for the road) to draw a night out in Rio to a close, and the bar buzzes with animated conversation at pretty much any hour of the day or night.
With just a few hotly contested pavement tables and chairs in front of the bar, Jobi doesn't immediately attract the eye as one walks past. But it's well worth getting to know this friendly, informal establishment, which manages to neatly encapsulate Carioca drinking culture at its very best.
Just one thing worth noting - locals seem to have an almost superhuman ability to drink endless beers without getting visibly drunk. So pace yourself and go easy on the caipirinhas if you don't want to be the tipsiest patron in the bar.