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 quality nightlife, but the neighborhood is now shrugging off its reputation for strip joints and tourist traps and attracting a hipped-up breed of night owl to venues 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 is the location for the most legendary New Year's celebration on the planet, and is also famous for the lively gay club Le Boy - a stalwart of Rio's colorful LGBT scene.  For an early evening or late night drink, meanwhile, 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 just ask for the drinks menu, and soak up the alcohol with a few petiscos (light munchies) rather than a main meal. 

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

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

At the heart of Rio's famously frenetic gay scene for some 20 years, Le Boy is as loud, lively and lascivious as ever in 2013. In fact, having expanded into the space previously occupied by lesbian sister club Le Girl (sadly now defunct) Le Boy...  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

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. The location on a Copacabana backstreet manages to attract some of the most skilled musicians in town, who...  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.