Nightlife in Sao Paulo
As one of the largest cities in the world and an important business centre, you might think that Sao Paulo is only about work. But this is far from the truth; Sao Paulo has one of the busiest nightlife scenes in the world. There are options every day of the week to go out and have fun, and options catering to every taste as well.
Sao Paulo nightlife options are available all over the city, but some Sao Paulo districts are well known for having a rich nightlife scene, such as Vila Madalena, Vila Olimpia, Itaim, Moema, Jardins, Consolacao and Baixo Augusta, Bela Vista, Santana, Tatuape and Vila Mariana.
Some neighborhoods are known for a certain style of Sao Paulo nightlife. Vila Madalena, for example, is known as a bohemian and trendy night spot. At Vila Olimpia and Itaim Bibi, you will find up and coming clubs. Jardins offers a jet setter night point, and Augusta Street is where the underground night happens.
What you need to know...
The nightlife in Sao Paulo starts late. People won’t go out to clubs before midnight and in some areas where Sao Paulo clubs are concentrated, traffic jams are common late at night, like in the Vila Olimpia neighbourhood. Just like any other place in Brazil, foreigners are well received, but don’t expect that everyone will speak English. Knowing a few words in Portuguese will be of great help. Being a city where business runs strong, most paulistanos dress up to go out and some clubs will not let you in wearing sneakers or jeans. It is a city far less casual than Rio de Janeiro.
The drinking age in Brazil is 18 and there is no limited time for alcohol consumption. Most Sao Paulo bars will give you a card at the entrance and have a minimum consumption requirement, and you will pay at the end of the night. In Sao Paulo, it is forbidden to smoke in any public facility.
In Brazil, alcohol is consumed more moderately than in countries like England and Ireland, so it will be considered rude to be falling drunk at the end of the night.
Another thing that is not strict in Brazil is time. If you are set to meet someone at a certain time, it is natural that most Brazilians will arrive later than what was scheduled (that does not apply for business, of course). This habit is changing slowly but we are not a punctual country. If someone tells you they will meet you at 8:00, it will be perfectly normal to arrive at 8:30. So don’t consider that as an offense. That is just the way things are.
Tips for socializing and flirting...
Like any other place in Brazil, in Sao Paulo people flirt openly and are quite liberal in chatting their objects of affection up. Regardless of gender, if someone finds you attractive, it is ok to make a move. Start a conversation, but politely. To touch someone’s arm is fine. In Brazil, when people are introduced to each other they kiss the cheek (except men; they do not kiss each other).
Although open and relaxed about their sexuality, it is a misconception to believe that just because there is a liberal nightlife scene in Sao Paulo that a girl will end up going with you to your hotel. Brazilian women, especially in Sao Paulo, do understand there is a stereotype that Brazilians are promiscuous, and they will not like it if they notice you are approaching them with suspicious intentions.
To kiss someone for fun is common in Brazil and part of the party, so don’t be surprised by that. Even if someone hands you a phone number, that does not mean they are really interested in you; they might not even remember your name the next day, and that is okay in Brazil. Of course, never approach a girl who is accompanied by a guy.
Overall, Sao Paulo is a relaxed place to go out. People love joking, talking, and are mostly informal. They love to party and dance and if you follow the common sense of good manners, you should not have any problems. In fact, you certainly will have a great experience and will be impressed by the happy and positive vibes that make Brazilians known around the world.
Here are some suggestions of places to go in the city:
BARRA FUNDA, LAPA AND PERDIZES:
Av. Auro Soares de Moura Andrade, 141 – Barra Funda
Electronic club with lounge, dance floor and rooftop deck. The best artists of the contemporary music scene play here; the interior design of the club is also another plus.
Rua Barra Funda, 1066 – Barra Funda
'90s rock. Great for nightlife encounters and drinks. The lounge on the second floor has an amazing view of the train line.
Rua Guaicurus, 324 – Lapa
Dance club with two dance floors, pool and outdoor section. The best international and national DJs play at The Week.
Rua Conego Vicente Miguel Marino, 85 – Barra Funda
Underground bar and club that attracts artists, musicians, movie makers and professionals who love the “avant guarde” vibe of the place. Please make sure to check their program since the bar also works as a recording studio and may be closed for the day. The place offers a variety of rhythms and they have different party themes, from jazz nights, karaoke to hip hop parties and more.
CAFÉ CONCERTO URANUS
Rua Dr. Carvalho de Mendonca, 40 - Santa Cecilia
Inspired by the cabarets from the '20s, this kitsch performance venue has a bar and offers different types of entertainment, either theater, concerts or DJ parties.
BOTECO SAO PAULO
Avenida Pompeia, 2089 – Perdizes
Traditional pub with decoration typical of Sao Paulo, this is a great place for happy hour. From Thursday to Saturday it has live samba shows.
Av. Professor Alfonso Bovero, 1107 – Perdizes
Pop/Rock music pub bar where you can dance and drink. It attracts a young crowd and it has great cocktails.
Rua Caiubi, 1249 – Perdizes
Excellent pub for drinks, it offers more than twenty types of caipirinhas and it also has a great selection of wines. Live music shows on Thursdays and Saturdays.
BIXIGA AND BELA VISTA:
BARAO DA ITARARE
Rua Peixoto Gomide, 155 – Bela Vista
With retro decoration and architecture, this bar is known for having the best dry martinis and cosmopolitans in town. An informal bar, the clientele is mixed; it can have people from all ages and tribes.
Rua Santo Antonio, 570 – Bela Vista
Two-floor club with contemporary design. It is an electronic music club that serves drinks and fruit popsicles.
Rua Treze de Maio, 972 – Bela Vista
Irreverent bar great for drinking, eating and… playing! By paying the entrance you are allowed to play games with your friends or other guests. Games like Monopoly, Poker, chess, and domino are available. The bar offers a variety of 700 types of games to play.
Rua Araujo, 232 – Centro
End of the night club, this house music club is the point for prostitutes and rental boys, but the club is not restricted to this public. Many celebrities frequent the club and it became a famous point. Party starts only at 4 AM, expect lines.
CENTER AND REPUBLICA:
Praca Dom Jose Gaspar, 42 – Centro
Historic low key bar, where politicians, writers and intellectuals get together for drinking and chatting. It has a charming '50s style saloon. On Thursdays you can listen to live chorinho music, a traditional Brazilian rhythm.
Av. Sao Luis, 272 – Republica
Inspired by Bob Dylan’s song Alberta, this three ambience bar has a twenty- something indie rock clientele that love to come for happy hour and drinks. Each night has a different style or theme but indie and rock music is what prevails in this nightclub.
Av. Brigadeiro Luis Antonio, 277 - Centro
Luxurious lounge inspired by the Studio 54 club in New York, with a beautiful balcony where you can view the centre of town. You feel like you are inside an exclusive country club. The atmosphere is amazing and the crowd is eclectic just like the music played.
Rua Bela Cintra, 532 – Consolacao
The bar combines the atmosphere of the Centre of Sao Paulo with Latin American culture. The mojitos are considered the best in town and the caipirinha drinks can have some surprising mix like strawberry and pepper or ginger and mango.
Rua Haddock Lobo, 74 – Consolacao
This nostalgic pub has a selection of 12 types of sweet sodas pop for those who miss the old times when those drinks were popular before the big names like Coca Cola and Pepsi took over the market in Brazil. Besides the innocent non-alcoholic sodas, you can also try drinks prepared with them.
Z CARNICERIA BAR
Rua Augusta, 934 – Consolacao
The bar was set in an old butcher shop from the '50s, so the elements of the butcher shop were kept like the big meat hooks, white tile walls and the display windows. It can be a little creepy but the bar attracts well dressed patrons as the rock and roll plays on the jukebox.
Rua Maria Antonia, 330 – Higienopolis
Enjoy some cold beer like Guinness, London Pride and Old Speckled Hen with some delicious paninis in this casual bar.
Rua Piaui, 103 – Higienopolis
Underground bar that welcomes artists, musicians and students who come to enjoy some music like rock, blues, folk, jazz and surf music from independent bands. The walls are filled with art work from new artists and works as a gallery.
ITAIM BIBI AND VILA OLIMPIA:
Rua Joaquim Floriano, 422 - Itaim Bibi
If you enjoy having a blast at Japanese style karaoke, Kenji is a great option for you to come and release your inhibitions. The place offers an amazing variety of songs from national and international artists. The kitsch decoration with balloons completes the atmosphere. You can also enjoy some sake and some delicious Japanese dishes while there.
MY NY BAR
Rua Pedroso Alvarenga, 1285 – Itaim Bibi
The bar inspired by New York in the '20s has won many prizes for its cocktails and drinks. They offer a lengthy menu of choice so you will not be disappointed. The patrons are thirty-somethings and it is great if you want to sit down and enjoy some fancy drinks with a nice date or group of friends.
Rua Pedroso Alvarenga, 970 – Itaim Bibi
Traditional pub, the bar has some '50s nostalgia decoration and reminds people of Miami. You can have some banana split, ice cream sodas and some good Brazilian snacks. You can sit on tables on the sidewalk for drinks and conversation.
WALL STREET BAR
Rua Jeronimo da Veiga, 149 – Itaim Bibi
The concept of this bar, as the name implies, is to feel like you are in the stock market, but what is being traded here is the liquor. Patrons can sit on tables with touch screens and follow the ups and downs of the prices and order accordingly. You can also order food and choose songs on the jukebox (only liquors are commercialized) with the touch screen. The bar offers a unique experience for customers because they can interact with the system and act as home-brokers.
Rua da Consolacao, 3585- Jardins
This bar is frequented by top models, designers, socialites and wealthy patrons. It was designed by acclaimed architect Isay Weinfeld. This is the place to be if you like to be surrounded by beautiful and wealthy people. You cannot walk in; you must reserve your table in advance.
Av. Cidade Jardim, 56 – Jardins
This '50s style pub maintains an nostalgic aura. It has been recently renovated and it has an indoors and outdoors section. Businessmen crowd, the place offers the famous caju amigo drink (cashew drink) that was created in 1955. In here you will find a more mature clientele.
Alameda Itu, 1548 – Jardins
The bar is known for being a point where people get together for drinks before hitting clubs. The atmosphere of the place is the highlight of the bar. Objects from all over the world mingles together creating a busy decoration. The menu is also multi-ethnic, from Indian curry to Italian risottos.
BAR DA DIDA
Rua Dr. Melo Alves, 98 – Jardins
This old garage became a charming pub with some 20 tables with candles arranged in the outside park. So this bar is better to be enjoyed on warm nights. On Sundays the bar also has live music.
Rua Oscar Freire, 163 – Jardins
Irish pub that follows exactly all the traditional elements of an authentic Irish pub. They serve typical Irish dishes like mini Guinness pie, potatoes wedges and meat pies. In here you will also find Guinness, Blanche de Bruxelles, Abbot Ale and Erdinger beer.
Unique Hotel, Av. Brigadeiro Luiz Antonio, 4700- Jardins
Located on the rooftop of Unique Hotel, the lounge has a fabulous view of the city. The DJ plays house music and it is not uncommon to find many foreigners relaxing and drinking. The liquor menu offers interesting choices like wasabi martinis.
Praca Carlos Gomes, 82 – Liberdade
This former theatre that used to showcase Japanese movies is now a venue for live music. The place went through a restoration to go back to its original design after being a church. The venue also has some of the most advanced technologies in terms of lighting and sound.
Rua Thomas Gonzaga, 57 – Liberdade
This tiny little place is an authentic Japanese bar, owned by two brothers who are Sumo fighters. The menu has some amazing snacks to accompany some cold beer like fried Tofu, sweet and sour oysters and kakiages. Ideal place for happy hour or warm ups.
ZUR ALTEN MUHLE
Rua Princesa Isabel, 102 – Moema
German tavern decorated in rustic style. The bar sells some great beer and the pub has a mature clientele. In the menu you will also find some traditional German dishes like happchen tartare.
Alameda Jauaperi, 570 – Moema
This pub, located on a corner, is a traditional pub in Sao Paulo and serves some great food and cold beer. If you want to sit down and chat or enjoy a happy hour, this is a wonderful choice.
BOURBON STREET MUSIC CLUB
Rua dos Chanes, 127 – Moema
Live music venue with capacity for 400 people, inspired by New Orleans bars. The music is focused on jazz, soul, funk and blues. This is a place to enjoy great quality music. Artists like B.B King and Ray Charles played in this venue and the house is internationally acclaimed.
VILA MADALENA AND PINHEIROS:
MERCEARIA SAO PEDRO
Rua Rodesia, 34 – Pinheiros
Cultural pub with tables in the open air, it is the place for bohemians to catch up. The walls are covered with old books and vinyl and the whole atmosphere is vintage. Sometimes there are book launches in the pub so the clientele is made of intellectuals and artists.
O DO BOROGODO
Rua Horacio Lane, 21 – Pinheiros
Laid back bar with live samba music or chorinho. It is a great place for those who want to try the authentic Brazilian night. So it’s not uncommon to have international clientele in here. Tourists will have the opportunity to watch couples moving to the rhythm of samba.
Rua Pedroso de Morais, 1036 – Pinheiros
Indie Rock/Pop venue, they often have theme parties and the audience can vary, but is often described as a place for young people who enjoy design, music and fashion. There is a store in the place that sells all sorts of products like clothing, shoes and books. The dance floor gets packed no matter the event.
JAZZ NOS FUNDOS
Rua Joao Moura, 1076 – Pinheiros
Underground instrumental jazz club in a hidden parking lot, the place has the intention to create an interaction between the public and musicians. On Saturdays, jazz improvisations echo in the room, and on Sundays, flamenco music projects are presented. This is not a bar for loud conversation but a place to sit quietly and be on a short distance from the band and get lost in the music chords.
Rua Cristovao Goncalves, 92 – Pinheiros
This 1930s house was renovated and turned into a bar, and each room was designed by a different architect. At 1 AM, the disco floor starts to get packed, the DJ spinning classics from the '80s. The menu is dedicated to the potato due to its location at Largo da Batata (batata means potato in Portuguese), like mini baked potatoes, Irish potato bread and potato cream.
Rua Lisboa, 191 – Pinheiros
Inspired by the boxer fights, this classic contemporary den is decorated with ring girls pictures, mismatched furniture and big leather sofas. The drinks are also named to honor great fighters like Jack la Mota and Mohamed Ali, which you can enjoy along with mini burgers. Around 2 AM the dance floor gets busy. The house also has an outdoor space for those who need to catch some air during the night.
Rua Delfina, 163 – Vila Madalena
New York-style speakeasy in the basement of Astor Bar, you will find this a surprisingly amazing place. With a delicious cocktail menu, it is considered one of the best in town. The atmosphere is cool, with velvet curtains, leather sofas and dark lighting. The soundtrack of Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Talking Heads and Joss Stone complete the scene. Expect some lines outside this bar, where the party goes on until late night.
Rua Alvaro Anes , 97 – Pinheiros
This bar is an invite-only place where you can get in only by having your name on the list. Celebrities are common in this place, like Madonna who spent some time with her model boyfriend when she was touring in town. But that does not mean this place is only frequented by playboys and socialites. You will have to have some good connections in the fashion, music or modeling world in order to get in.
Rua Delfina, 163 – Vila Madalena
Classic pub with decoration inspired in the '50s and '60s with a varied wine list and whiskeys that can be bought and held in the bar for the next visit. You can order some oysters or spicy meatballs to accompany your drinks.
Rua Aspicuelta, 533 – Vila Madalena
This bar was named in honor of Sao Cristovao soccer team in Rio de Janeiro, so the place is decorated with soccer memorabilia hanging all over the wall. This is a great bar for happy hour and despite the theme, the clientele is usually classy. Try the cod croquettes and steak with fried garlic with French fries and rice on the side.
Rua Fidalga, 254 – Vila Madalena
Acclaimed end of the night bar, having received some awards for best bar by Veja Magazine. This bohemian and nostalgic place has more than fifty types of cachaca (liquor made from fermented sugar cane) on their menu, and one of the best chopps (draft beer) of Sao Paulo.
Rua Wizard, 489 – Vila Madalena
This bar is a reference when talking about empanadas, Argentinean filled pies, which comes in different flavors. As one of the biggest bars in the neighborhood, the turnover is quick. The clientele is of artists, intellectuals and students that come to sit down and discuss politics, new artistic projects or just watch the soccer game on TV.