São Paulo Nightlife

São Paulo's nightlife options are seemingly endless, so knowing where to go is key. The chic and wealthy head for establishments, most of which serve food, in the Vila Olímpia, Jardins, and Itaim neighborhoods. The Pinheiros and Vila Madalena neighborhoods have a large concentration of youthful clubs and bars, and many trendy clubs have opened in Barra Funda. Jardins and Centro have many gay and

lesbian spots, with the area around Rua Augusta catering to hipsters.

Some São Paulo music clubs host rock, jazz, and blues artists, but when it comes to Brazilian music, the options abound. On weekends you'll find música popular brasileira (MPB, popular Brazilian music), samba, and pagode (similar to samba but with pop-music elements) in clubs throughout the city—many operating from early afternoon to early evening and accompanied by feijoada or other meals. At forró clubs, couples dance close to the fast beat and romantic lyrics of music that originated in the Northeast.

Most clubs open at 9 pm, but people tend to arrive late (around midnight) and dance until 5 or 6 am. Still, you should arrive early to be at the front of the lines. Don't worry if the dance floor appears empty at 11 pm; things will start to sizzle an hour or so later.

Clubbing can get expensive. Most clubs charge at least R$20 at the door (sometimes women are allowed in for free), and the most popular and upscale places as much as R$300 just for entry. At the hottest clubs, expect to wait in line for a bit, especially if you head out late. Expect to wait in line on the way out again, too—the system is usually that you charge your drinks on an electronic tab, presenting the card and paying upon leaving. It can mean long queues: smart clubbers think ahead and pay up in good time.

São Paulo has a large and lively gay scene with a smorgasbord of bars, cafés, and mega nightclubs spread throughout the city. There's a good cluster of watering holes along Avenida Vieira de Carvalho and Rua Martinho Prada in República, and Ruas Frei Caneca, Augusta, and Bela Cintra in Consolação (10 minutes from the Consolação and Paulista metros on Avenida Paulista) are regular rendezvous points and hangout.

A word about happy hour: Unlike in some countries, where the term refers to those few early-evening hours when drinks are cheaper, happy hour (pronounced and written in English) in Brazil simply means the time just after the work day ends, around 6 pm, when you might head to a bar for a drink with friends or colleagues. Despite the lack of discounted cocktails, paulistanos love to use the term, and many bars are judged purely on their suitability as a happy hour venue.

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São Paulo Nightlife

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8 Bar

  • Dance Clubs

The DJs at this intimate space play electronic, disco, and hip-hop, often interacting with the crowd on the dance floor and accepting...

A Lanterna

  • Dance Clubs

Because this venue is a restaurant, a bar, and a nightclub, you can go early for dinner and stay late for dancing. Actors, dancers, and...

A Lôca

  • Bars/Pubs

A mixed gay, lesbian, and straight crowd often dances until dawn at A Lôca to everything from pop and rock to disco and techno. ...

Alberta #3

  • Dance Clubs

A linchpin of the nightlife revival pulling hipsters back to Centro, this club across from the Novotel Jaraguá caters to crowds from...

All Black

  • Bars/Pubs

Crowded from happy hour on, All Black is an Irish pub with style—and a great variety of international beer brands. Irish soccer paraphernalia...

All of Jazz

  • Music Clubs

People come here to listen quietly to good jazz and bossa nova in an intimate environment—there's even a CD store upstairs with more...

Astor

  • Bars/Pubs

The 1960s and 1970s bohemian-chic decor here sends you back in time. The quality draft beer and tasty snacks and meals mean that Astor...

Balcão

  • Bars/Pubs

Balcão means "bar" in Portuguese, and this artsy place has a long, curving one. If you'd like a little food to accompany your drinks...

Bar Brahma

  • Bars/Pubs

First opened in 1948, Bar Brahma used to be the meeting place of artists, intellectuals, and politicians. The decor is a time warp to...

Bar Do Arnesto

  • Bars/Pubs

More than 500 types of the rumlike liquor cachaça—the main ingredient in caipirinhas, Brazil's national cocktail—line a huge wall...

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