Live Music, Cocktail Lounges and Beach Bars - Copacabana's Best Nightlife

The legendary Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Copacabana is more famous for its long, curving beach than for its nightlife, but Copa (as the locals call it) has shaken off a reputation for strip joints and tourist traps and is attracting a hipped-up breed of night owl. Cook kids  flock to independent dance clubs such as Fosfobox, while glamorous society types gather for drinks at Pergula, the poolside bar and restaurant at Copacabana Palace hotel. You don't need to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy a drink here, but dress to impress if you want to feel at home among the well-heeled clientele - and be prepared to pay high prices for your food and drink. 

Copacabana beachfront is the location for one of the biggest and best New Year's celebrations on the planet, and the 5km-long promenade is lined with kiosk bars and smart cocktail lounges - and it's hard to beat a caipirinha with an ocean backdrop, and there are scores of bars to choose from along the beach front. These range from simple bars with plastic tables and chairs to upmarket wine bars, meaning that there is something to suit every taste and pocket. For something altogether more casual, head to the legendary Bip Bip. This simple hole-in-the-wall bar plays host to some of the best musicians in the city at its live jam sessions. 

Eating and drinking go hand in hand in Rio, and many informal Copacabana restaurants double as bars - don't be afraid to  ask for just the drinks menu - you can always  soak up the alcohol with a few petiscos (light munchies) rather than a main meal. 



This casual food and drink spot has several branches in Rio, but the one at the Eastern end of Copacabana beach (known as Leme) is the most appealing. Tables and chairs are set up in front of the outdoor bar which sits atop a giant rock...  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



It might not be the most upmarket spot on the strip, but this lively and laid back beachfront bar-restaurant is among the best of the many options on tourist-focused Avenida Atlantica. Don't bother with indoor dining here, the main reason to...  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

Pavao Azul
Photo courtesy of Los Viajes del Cangrejo/Flickr


Much of Rio's liveliest drinking and dining centers around its informal, unpretentious 'botecos' (casual bars) and this unassuming hole-in-the-wall bar-restaurant is a great case in point. Serving award-winning bar snacks and ice cold beers to...  Read More

New Mariuzinn Copacabana
Photo courtesy of New Mariuzinn Copacabana


A young, student-y crowd heads to this popular late night hangout in Copacabana, where a musical menu of Rio funk, hip hop and US R&B make a change from the city's staple aural diet of samba and pagode. That's not to say that samba doesn't get...  Read More



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



Right at the heart of Copacabana, next to Siqueira Campos metro station, Fosfobox attracts hipsters and musically-minded types of all social demographics to shake their collective stuff on the sticky dancefloor. The musical action takes place...  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. Tucked away on a Copacabana backstreet, the bar manages to attract some of the most skilled musicians in...  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.