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Top 7 bars in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Published October 9th, 2015

Finding a place to drink is never hard when you're in one of Brazil's best cities for nightlife: Sao Paulo. But like all cities, Sao Paulo has a few bars that stand out from the rest, offering an atmosphere and experience that keeps people coming back.

Here are our seven favourite places to wet your whistle while out on a crawl in Sao Paulo.

Sao Cristovao, Vila Madalena

Casaca!!! #vasco #crvg #casaca #vascodagama #orespeitovoltou.

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If you're visiting Sao Paulo and are interested in Brazilian football make the city's football museum your first stop – and this fantastic, atmospheric bar your second.

Practically every inch of the walls and ceiling is plastered with footy-themed memorabilia – 3,500 mementos from the owners beloved Sao Cristovao football club and others, providing a free history lesson of the Brazilian game.

Vila Madalena is Sao Paulo's most established nightlife destination and Rua Aspicuelta and the surrounding streets are full of great little bars.

Sao Cristovao is one of the best, serving excellent chopp (draft beer) and food (try the pot-roast-like carne de panela). It gets crowded, so if you can't get a table, take a stroll to one of the many other bars nearby.

Bar do Luiz Fernandes, Santana

Há 45 anos atrás desse balcão.

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Those seeking an authentic Brazilian boteco (local watering hole) experience off the tourist grid will find no better than this traditional North Zone bar, which has wooed paulistanos with its savoury bar snacks and ice-cold bottled beer for nearly 50 years.

The house-specialty, bolinho de carne (beef croquettes), deep-fried and doused in spicey vinaigrette and fiery malagueta pepper sauce, go with near-frozen Original and Serramalte cerveja like sun and sand.

Inside the partly open-air space, chock full of football scarves and decades of photos, some of the city's friendliest waiters navigate the fun with grace and efficiency.

Tables overflow into the street, full with a lively, down-to-earth crowd enjoying the simplicity of Brazil at its finest: great food, cold beer, good people. It's very hard to leave.

Choperia Liberdade, Liberdade

Oi, SP ❤️

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A few drinks in at this old-school karaoke bar in the heart of Liberdade, Sao Paulo's Japantown, and you'll feel like you've plunged into a world of neon kitsch, glowing aquariums, Christmas lights and electric paintings.

The frighteningly serous songsters who entertain the crowd of Japazilian hipsters, Brazilian twenty-somethings, curious tourists and gaggles of hen parties offer dead-ringer renditions of Japanese, Brazilian and Anglo-American pop classics.

Some complain that regulars hog the limelight, so you should think twice before embarrassing yourself on stage here lest you fancy the Simon Cowell treatment. There are pool tables and big screens for watching the footie in the back. Great fun.


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Alberta #3, Republica

This cradle of counterculture was singlehandedly responsible for making Centro calm, cool and collected again when it opened in 2010.

Reached through a neon-lit Republica doorway, this is a three-storey bohemian hideout where DJs spin classic rock, jazz and soul on vinyl for a mixed crowd content to sway on the small dance floor.

Inspired by 1950s hotel bars, it's far more Dylan than Disclosure, and a perfect haunt for introverts to escape flashing colours. Settle in with a seasonal cocktail (try the SP460 - gin or vodka, Tahitian lime, Sicilian lime, grapefruit and rosemary) and get into the groove.

O do Borogodo, Vila Madalena

All exposed brick and uneven floors, this is the Sampa (as Brazilians call the city) spot to shake your rump to live samba, chorinho, pagode and any other string-driven strains of Brazil's most famous rhythm.

Serious musicians and aficionados work the room here, so dancing tourists and foreigners without the benefit of Latin blood are quickly exposed (don't worry – it's a good thing).

The sweat-soaked crowd fights for breathing room to let loose in the compact house Monday through Saturday (expect a cover charge) and a full house most nights. It's one of the few places in Sao Paulo that can rival the samba scene in Rio's Lapa district.

FrangO, Freguesia do O

One of the city's most classic botecos, FrangO sits on atmospheric square off the beaten path in historic Freguesia do O by one of Sao Paulo's oldest cathedrals, Our Lady of Freguesia do O.

But the communion here is of a different kind entirely: with more than 500 Brazilian and imported beers available by the bottle, this was once Sampa's only haven for serious beer geeks.

Today, it no longer stands alone, but it continues to draw purists not only for its beer menu, but its famous grilled chicken, served with farofa (toasted manioc flour) and salad and famous coxinhas.

The most coveted seats line the sidewalk, but the cavernous indoor space, lined with vintage beer posters and well-worn wooden alcoves, is an easy spot to settle in for the long haul.

SubAstor, Vila Madalena

Mixology is still a relatively new concept in beer-mad Brazil. Before SubAstor, mixed drinks were mostly limited to caipirinhas.

But down a shadowy staircase beneath Astor (one of the city's finest botecos), sits this the dark and sexed-up basement of whose name does no justice to the imaginations of its bartenders.

Italian mixologist Fabio la Pietra is easily the most daring drinks man in town. He knows no limits: rocket, bottled butter, capers and saffron are all major players in his outrageously progressive drinks.

It's not a rowdy place – think the cocktail cognoscenti trading tales over Rolling Stones classics – so come to expand your palate.


Experience your own wild and eye-opening bar crawl through Sao Paulo with discounted Black Market airfares from Student Flights.


This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

This article was written by Kevin Raub from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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