"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.