Belo Horizonte

"Se não tem mar, vamos pro bar!" ("We haven't got the sea, so we'll go to the bar!") is a mineiro catchphrase that epitomizes the Belo Horizonte lifestyle. No other city in Brazil has as many bars and coffee shops as Belo Horizonte—there are 14,000, or one for every 150 inhabitants.

This isn't a recent trend: the first bar appeared in 1893, four years before the city was founded. The bar culture is the core of the city's nightlife. There's even a contest every year in April, the Comida di Buteco, or Bar Food Contest (www.comidadibuteco.com.br), to reward the bar with the best appetizers (tira-gosto, as the locals say) and the coldest beer.

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  • 1. A Obra

    Funcionários | Dance Clubs

    A hip and young crowd ranging in age from 18 to mid-30s gathers at A Obra, a basement-level pub with a dance floor. Music styles vary from indie...Read More

  • 2. Alambique Cachaçaria e Armazém

    Estoril | Bars/Pubs

    For fabulous city views and some of Brazil's best cachaças, head to this bar where musicians perform daily except on Monday. The music is mainly...Read More

  • 3. Arrumação

    Floresta | Bars/Pubs

    A traditional bar in a colonial building owned by Brazilian comedian and actor Saulo Laranjeira, Arrumação specializes in cachaças and serves...Read More

  • 4. Café com Letras

    Savassi | Cafes–Nightlife

    Belo Horizonte's intellectual beau monde collects at this café to eat dainty salads and drink imported wine in a beautiful interior surrounded...Read More

  • 5. Pedacinhos do Céu

    Caiçara Adelaide | Music Clubs

    Belo Horizonte's best and most authentic live-music venue is Pedacinhos do Céu, literally, "little pieces of heaven." This small bar is known...Read More

  • 6. Utópica Marcenaria

    Santa Luzia | Music Clubs

    By day a furniture store and an architecture office, this space transforms at night into a venue for jazz, blues, and Brazilian and Cuban rhythms. ...Read More

  • 7. Bar do Bolão

    Santa Tereza | Bars/Pubs

    Bohemians, musicians, and poets hang out at this large and lively bar and restaurant in Santa Tereza, a neighborhood worth exploring itself...Read More

  • 8. Cantina do Lucas

    Centro | Bars/Pubs

    Established in 1962, this cantina is a cultural landmark beloved by middle-aged locals, who flock here on weekends for its standard Italian...Read More

  • 9. Josefine

    Savassi | Dance Clubs

    The dance club Josefine is popular with the GLS crowd— gays, lésbicas, e simpatizantes (gays, lesbians, and sympathizers). ...Read More

  • 10. Mercearia do Lili

    Santo Antônio | Bars/Pubs

    One of BH's best bars operates out of a small grocery store in a bohemian enclave. By day the owner sells eggs, cereal, and soap. In the evening...Read More

  • 11. Na Sala Revolution

    Santa Luzia | Dance Clubs

    BH's most modern and well-equipped nightclub is also its premier house-music venue. ...Read More

  • 12. Status Café Cultura e Arte

    Funcionários | Cafes–Nightlife

    The Status is a great place to hear live music. The large, warm space houses a café/bar and a bookstore. On Sunday morning, there is a buffet...Read More

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