Brazilian nightlife: Rio and São Paulo




Rio de Janeiro

Jazz at The Maze Inn

This B&B is on top of a hill in a favela (don’t worry, there’s a constant police presence) and is one of the coolest places in Rio right now. As well as beds, it has a great view across to Guanabara Bay and Sugar Loaf – and on the first Friday of the month owner Bob Nadkarni puts on a live music night of jazz, bossa nova and Brazilian standards. You can dance around the terrace, and if you’ve had too much to drink stay the night. In the morning see a sunrise you’ll never forget.

• Rua Tavares Bastos 414, casa 66, Catete (+ 55 21 2558 5547, A combie runs up the hill from the corner of Rua Tavares Bastos and Rua Bento Lisboa. Doubles from £38 B&B

Celina Schlieckmann, textile designer

Palaphita Kitch

On the edge of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas – known simply as “Lagoa”, or “Lake” – this bar and restaurant has views of Corcovado mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue. Nice atmosphere with open-air seating, beautiful people and stunning views. The place specialises in making drinks and cocktails with tropical Brazilian fruits. Try the caipirinha made with tamarind. Perfect for happy hour.
• Avenida Epitácio Pessoa, Sofitel Copacabana, Lagoa (

Silvio Maurício Gomes, head concierge of Sofitel Copacabana

Cabaret das Rosas

This city-centre club is run by by Adriana Lima, of the famous Dama de Ferro electronic-music club in Ipanema. The vibe at Rosas is 1920s’ Berlin burlesque set in a beautiful colonial building with the top floor turned into a stylish bar/club with live performances, antique furniture and great cocktails. Take care walking around this area – get a cab to the door.
• Rua Conselheiro Saraiva 12, Centro

Nadia Nightingale, writer and PR, based in Rio

Bar dos Descasados

This cool bar is up in the arty Santa Teresa neighbourhood, in the swanky designer Santa Teresa Hotel, once a coffee plantation mansion. It’s beautifully romantic and away from the bustle of downtown – perfect for a caipirinha at sunset.

• Rua Almirante Alexandrino 660 (, rooms around £250 per night NN

Olimpo restaurant

Few Cariocas (Rio natives) know about this excellent restaurant with its panoramic view of Guanabara Bay. It was designed by the great Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and is in Charitas, Niterói, on the other side of the bay. You can get there by boat – the ride alone makes it worthwhile. Take a ferry at Praça XV, in the city centre, to Charitas and get off at the restaurant pier, also designed by Niemeyer.

• Estação Hidroviária de Charitas, Avenida Quintino Bocaiúva (+55 21 2711 0554,

Christina Baum, guest programmer of Brazilian Words at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre

Jazz and caipirinha ice-cream

For the best ice-cream in Rio, go to Amarena on Avenida Barata Ribeiro in Copacabana. It does fantastic flavours – everything from caipirinha and ginseng to exotic Amazonian fruits. Then cross the street to Modern Sound, the best CD shop in Rio, and listen to free jazz concerts at the bar (it also has a bistro). Or walk to the beach and watch the breathtaking sunset at the Forte de Copacabana.

Mili Thakur