20 Bars in Rio de Janeiro for an Amazing Night Out

After several years of living in NYC, a few trips to Las Vegas, a brief stint in Miami, and a whirl through Medellín, I thought I knew what an amazing nightlife scene looked like—until visiting Rio de Janeiro.

Nightlife in Rio de Janeiro is something else entirely. Tourists and locals alike flock to the city’s nightclubs and bars for everything from sexy, secluded hangouts to rowdy dance floors in true carioca style.

The best bars in Rio de Janeiro embody everything wonderful and good about the city—the tropical flavors, eye for design, and most importantly, the people.

Cocktail at one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro.
A fruity cocktail at Liz Cocktail & Co in the Leblon neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.

Oh my gosh, the people. I could wax on about just how amazingly friendly and welcoming everyone in the city (and Brazil on the whole) is, from bartenders to fellow bar patrons, but I’ll spare you.

Before my time in the city, I spent hours digging for the best bars in Rio de Janeiro, visiting several when I finally arrived. While they don’t quite rival cocktail bars in São Paulo yet, they’re well on their way.

Based on my experience and research, these are the cocktail bars and nightlife spots in the city that you should know about:

Bottle wall at one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro.
Stylish NOSSO is one of Ipanema’s biggest nightlife hotspots.

Best Bars in Rio de Janeiro

1. Quartinho Bar

Quartinho Bar is so of the moment that its menu is a zine. The quirky bar in Rio de Janeiro’s hipster Botafogo neighborhood almost looks more like an art students’ college house than it does the best bar in the area.

Cocktails are inventive by the city’s standards, food is sustainably sourced and vegetarian-friendly, music is Brazilian, and staff is rave-worthy. For a surprise, try the Miss Dynamite (gin, strawberry, Aperol, Lillet, white vermouth, sparkling wine, and pop rocks).

If bars in Lapa, the city’s raucous nightlife district are representative of the city’s past, Quartinho Bar is certainly a spotlight on Rio de Janeiro today.

Food at NOSSO, one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro.
The Egg 63°’s foam is like a cloud.

2. NOSSO

When I arrived in Rio, NOSSO was my first official stop (after buying an adapter at a street stall and hitting an ATM). The stylish spot in Ipanema is undoubtedly one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro, especially for cocktail lovers.

A friendly hostess greeted me, completely unphased by a solo diner without a reservation. Within a half hour, the bar was nearly full, filled with buzzy conversation from some of the city’s most well-heeled residents.

NOSSO is best known for its cocktails and signature egg plate, The Egg 63°. I can confirm this viral dish lives up to the hype. On a bed of mixed mushrooms and truffled mushroom foam, a gooey egg is topped with baroa potato and grana padano crumble that is simultaneously rich and airy.

The cocktail program at NOSSO taps on the classics and Brazil’s flair for distillates and ferments for influence.

The Cachaça Mecânica (cachaça, grapefruit, Tahitian lemon, dram pepper, chamomile syrup, passion fruit, cinnamon) gives depth to an otherwise fruity drink. In contrast, the Highball Do Caparaó gives the espresso martini a run for its money by mixing Grey Goose with coconut oil and coffee soda from Caparaó.

3. Cantô Gastrô & Lounge

The Grand Hyatt Rio De Janeiro’s Cantô Gastro & Lounge isn’t another chain hotel dining establishment to scoff at.

The gastro bar, a sleek, contemporary space, is a typical hotel bar in many ways. Still, it shines in its selection of caipirinha variations, Brazil’s national drink traditionally made with cachaça, sugar, and lime.

All of the cachaça is locally made in Rio. In Cantô’s caipirinha menu, you’ll find the spirit paired with all different kinds of fruit, such as jabuticaba from the Brazilian grape tree.

4. Rio Scenarium

There isn’t a single bar in Rio hotter than Rio Scenarium. Years after its inception, the bar is still packed from Wednesday to Saturday.


Despite its popularity with samba-seeking tourists, Rio Scenarium has managed to maintain its authenticity and local spirit, even if it is touristy these days. Excitement fills the air on all three floors of the bar as the crowd takes to the dance floor, whose walls are lined with an eclectic array of vintage decor.

Buy your ticket to enter in advance. Tickets purchased at the door are nearly 50% more expensive than those bought online.

A cocktail at one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

5. Liz Cocktail & Co

Liz Cocktail & Co is a neighborhood bar with a casual elegance that belongs in some lofty arrondissement in Paris or among NYC’s West Village cocktail bars on a romantic, brownstone-lined street.

There were few bars in Rio de Janeiro where I felt more welcome than at this one. Seated at the tiny bar rail, Yuri, the bartender for the night, eventually encouraged me to put my trust in him, whipping up carefully designed creations picked for my palate while chatting it up (in English, no less).

If you want to stay on the menu, you won’t be disappointed. Liz Cocktail & Co is the closest you’ll come to mixology that rivals NYC’s renowned Williamsburg cocktail bars in Rio de Janeiro for its creative, elevated approach to mixology that others in the city lack.

Every cocktail on the menu is inspired by an iconic movie or television show, moving through the decades with each turn of a page. One of my favorites at the bar is the You Can’t Refuse (banana-infused white rum, cachaça, banana peel essential oils, and lime) from the Godfather II menu.


The only thing that should be skipped at Liz is the food—my mushroom tacos took over an hour to come out and were frankly unmemorable.

Liz Cocktail & Co is small and very popular. Making a reservation in advance is highly recommended.

6. BE+CO

BE+CO is a food hall meets bar in Rio de Janeiro’s hipster Botafogo neighborhood. There’s a certain sophistication to the funky space in an entirely unpretentious way. Maybe it’s the ingredients like passionfruit and banana foam in its craft cocktails or its vendors’ elevated approach to typical street food.

Nosh on nachos at Dos Perros or grab Japanese from Curadoria before hitting BE+CO’s bar for drinks. Prices are around the neighborhood average—R$20 to R$26 ($4 to $5.20 USD) per drink, and double shots can be poured for R$35 ($7 USD).

This Botafogo favorite is vegetarian and vegan-friendly. There are several vegetarian options like falafel and a vegetable burger.

7. Ristorante Hotel Cipriani

Copacabana Palace, a Belmond Hotel, is one of the most instantly recognizable hotels in Rio de Janeiro. The opulent property is home to several of the city’s top dining experiences, two of which have Michelin stars.

Among these is Ristorante Hotel Cipriani the Brazilian outpost of New York City’s iconic Italian hangout to see and be seen at.

The restaurant has held a Michelin star since 2019, but its appeal isn’t all food—Cipriani has become known in the city for also having fabulous cocktails, thanks to a needed revamp of the program.

Cocktails range from Brazilian to Italian, like the Tea Cup Gin (gin, blueberry, chamomile, orange bitters, and cabernet foam).

Like other Cipriani properties, you can’t go wrong with the bellini, which was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1948 at Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Vizinho Gastrobar, one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro.
The Francis Drake at Vizinho Gastrobar alongside the bar’s spiced popcorn.

8. Vizinho Gastrobar

Doubts started forming in my head as I grew increasingly frustrated trying to find the location of Vizinho Gastrobar. The tiny cocktail spot, hailed as one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro by World’s 50 Best, is unusually hidden on the ground-level courtyard of a shopping mall, far away from the city’s many tourist attractions.

Led by Jessica Sanchez, the mastermind behind Ristorante Hotel Cipriani’s modern cocktail refresh, the garden retreat focuses mostly on refreshing drinks with light, fruity flavors. My favorite drink at the bar is the Francis Drake, which consists of white rum, passion fruit, mint leaves, lemon, and Angostura bitters.

Heaping bowls of seasoned popcorn are served complimentary with drinks. I loved the popcorn, but the personal-sized pizza was a letdown—skip the bar’s food and eat elsewhere.

Come for happy hour all night from Sunday to Wednesday and until 8:30 pm Thursday to Saturday, when Moscow Mules, Gin and Tonics, and Aperol Spritzes are R$25 ($5 USD).

9. Delirium Café

Delirium is an instantly recognizable name for the world’s most adamant beer enthusiasts. The Belgium-based brewery, known for its award-winning Delirium Tremens beer, is elusive in most of the Americas.


Yet, the brewery’s best-selling brews are available daily at Delirium Cafe in Rio de Janeiro, its first establishment in the Americas.

Over 20 different beers flow on tap, including local craft beer and international drafts from large, established players like Paulaner in Germany. Also on offer is a brief list of wines and a selection of classic cocktails.

Food is strictly of the Brazilian bar variety, such as mini coxinhas,  feijoada dumplings, and tapioca cubes. On Sunday, handmade burgers and fries are just R$ 29.90 ($6 USD).

Happy Hour runs daily from 5 pm to 8 pm.

10. Mãe Joana

Cheap tattoos are often associated with bad decisions made on nights that were way too belligerent. 

Mãe Joana plays off of this common trope, offering tattoos and piercings onsite. The services don’t end there—this bar also offers hairdressing and barber services.

The LGBTQIA+-friendly bar in Botafogo switches up its theme each night to offer activities like karaoke but is always regarded as being the samba spot in the neighborhood.

11. Boteco Boa Praça

Boteco Boa Praça is a big deal and knows it. The nightlife giant has multiple locations in Rio de Janeiro, including a beachfront restaurant in Ipanema and another in Leblon.

This isn’t a bar for fancy drinks with a price tag that will make you wince or tedious small plates that will leave you wanting McDonald’s after signing the check. Boteco Boa Praça is down-to-earth, focusing on an electrifying atmosphere with live music, generously sized Brazilian plates, and affordable drinks.

12. Mixxing

Mixxing might be the most hidden gem of all the cocktail bars in Rio de Janeiro.

The city’s best-kept secret is sophisticated and intimate. Operated by bartenders Alex Miranda and Lelo Forti, the bar mimics the approach of Attaboy, one of the best Lower East Side cocktail bars, forgoing a menu in lieu of listening to each individual guest’s flavor and spirit preferences to craft something bespoke.

DJs and guest bartenders take to the space regularly, and the food lives up to the bar’s creative takes on classic cocktails. To pad your drinks, order the shredded rib dumpling or the fungus risotto topped with filet mignon.

13. Boteco Belmonte

I wandered into Boteco Belmonte late one night in Rio de Janeiro. As many bars in Leblon were closing for the night, excited chatter still filled the laidback taproom, which was open until 2 am.

The bar’s history dates back to 1952 when it opened its first location in Praia de Flamengo. Now, Boteco Belmonte has several outposts in Rio de Janeiro, including Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana, Jardim Botânico, Leme, Lapa, and Flamengo.

The country’s usual cocktails, like caipirinhas, are on the menu, but the main attraction is beer. Draft beers from foreign and local breweries flow out of taps all night long.

Somehow, the passion fruit caipirinha I ordered here still lives in my head rent-free. It was cheap, purchased on a whim, but so fresh.

Come before 8 pm for happy hour, or arrive past 7 pm when the crowd really starts to pick up and bands from samba circles hit the stage.

14. Bar Carioca da Gema

It’s all about samba at Bar Carioca da Gema, where sambistas play live music seven nights a week in a historic colonial home in Lapa. 

At the door, you’ll be given a white slip where your tab for the night will live. You’ll pay it on the way out, and if you lose it, well, good luck.

By 11 pm, the dance floor at Bar Carioca is so crowded you’ll barely be able to stand. Downstairs, those who made reservations are munching on slices from the bar’s pizzeria, chilling out at tables, and avoiding the chaos of the crowd.

Entrance varies from R$25 to R$35 ($5 to $7 USD) during the week, and unlike at other top samba bars in Rio de Janeiro, the staff is friendly and helpful.

15. Pavão Azul

When in Rio de Janeiro, spending a night at a pé-sujo is practically an initiation into the city’s nightlife scene. Pé-sujo, translating into “dirty foot” from Portuguese is a type of bar that’s a cross between a dive bar and a greasy spoon.

These cheap, casual bars serve crave-worthy Brazilian bar bites (in Pavão Azul’s case, feijoada, salted cod fritters, and pastéis are among the best) and pour cheap drinks from bottles crammed onto its shelves.

Pé-sujo bars roll up their doors daily, becoming one with the sidewalk as locals roll in to dine at plastic furniture and spill onto the street à la Saigon street stall style.

That’s not to say all pé-sujo are quite as gritty as Pavão Azul’s sidewalk approach. Nearby, Boteco Belmonte takes on the same approach in a roomier space with a slightly more dressed-up interior.

16. Explorer Bar

Tucked away in a Victorian mansion, studio, and church, Explorer Bar blends into the artsy Santa Teresa neighborhood it calls home.

Instantly recognizable by its turquoise blue facade, the cocktail bar and restaurant is a lot like its founders—foreigners in Brazil. The bar is a blend of Brazilian plates like pork belly croquettes and Dadinhos de Tapioca, diced cubes of tapioca served with pineapple chutney.

Cocktails are where Explorer Bar really shines. Mostly rooted in cachaça, rum, vodka, gin, and bourbon, Explorer Bar’s fruit-forward cocktail menu is designed for a leisurely evening in the neighborhood.

Some, like the Jambu Shake (pineapple Jambuzada, traditional Jambuzada, passion fruit, mango, cinnamon syrup, sour mix, and hibiscus tea) and Kaia on Pitaya (açaí Jambuzada, traditional Jambuzada, Ramazzotti, and orange bitter) are contemporary approaches to Brazilian flavor.

If you’d rather have your liquor straight and neat, order a cachaça tasting. Featuring five different cachaça varietals for R$83 ($16.50 USD), it’s a little pricey for the neighborhood but far less expensive than the options I had for it while staying at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls.

17. Leviano Bar

Leviano Bar is equal parts dive bar, show, and dance floor. The two-story bar in Lapa leaves partiers breathless as taking part in samba and forró become all night affairs.

Located in a colonial mansion with a colorful facelift, the bar is a choose-your-own-adventure. Music differs on each floor—usually live samba on the ground level and Latin pop on the second.

One night a week, salsa takes over Leviano Bar, one of the few places in Rio to partake.

18. Cine Botequim

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bar quite like Cine Botequim. The retro space has a reputation for being one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro but is nothing like the rest.

A cinema-themed narrow passage between exposed brick walls, the bar serves craft beers and finger food along with a few cocktails. A projector at the end of the bar shows movies ranging from vintage picks to indie films and experiments from film students.

Beers are pricier than at other bars in Centro, Rio’s historic center, but the experience justifies it.

19. The Rock Bar

The Rock Bar is hot—both in the beautiful crowd it attracts and, if you ask a local, in its lack of powerful air conditioning.

This isn’t the cheapest nightclub in Rio de Janeiro, but it is one of the city’s best. It avoids some of the trashy (sketchy) vibes of others by, well, pricing a lot of the problem-causers out.

The club is known for playing a mix of pop and Brazilian rock, often bringing in EDM DJs and cover bands to get the party going.


If you tire of the concert, you can play a few rounds at the club’s foosball and pool tables.

Often, entrance to The Rock Bar is free. On busier nights, the club may charge a cover fee of R$40 ($8 USD) for men and R$20 ($4 USD) for women.

20. Booze Bar

A chic townhouse in Lapa gives home to Booze Bar, a nightlife spot serving cocktails inspired by movies and television shows, along with international and local beer.

According to locals, the bar’s coxinhas are a must-order for those looking for the city’s best.

Entrance to Booze Bar is free for women and varies from R$ 10 to R$ 20 ($2 to $4 USD) for men.

Rooftop view of Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana neighborhood.

Best Neighborhoods for Nightlife in Rio de Janeiro

As nightclubs like Fosfobox in Copacabana have seen their downturn, Cariocas are turning to young, trendy neighborhoods for nights out.

These neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro have the best nightlife overall:

Escadaria Selarón in Lapa, one of the best neighborhoods for nightlife in Rio de Janeiro.
Nightlife is second only to Escadaria Selarón in Lapa.

Best for Dive Bars: Lapa

If you ask a carioca where the best nightlife in Rio de Janeiro is, Lapa is probably going to be their first answer.

During the day, Lapa is frequented by tourists flocking to Escadaria Selarón, the neighborhood’s impressive mosaic staircase.

At night, Lapa is trashy. It’s sketchy, and you have to watch your back here. But it’s also Rio’s biggest and loudest party. People don’t drink to enjoy a slow cocktail here, they drink to get drunk.

Head to Lavradio Street where inexpensive bars are squeezed between antique shops and samba, bossa nova, and Brazilian pop can be heard echoing from live bands and DJs.

Even though excessive drinking is a hallmark of nightlife in Lapa, don’t do it. This isn’t a neighborhood to get overly drunk in—it struggles with drink spiking and muggings.

If you choose to go out in Lapa, don’t walk around, especially if it’s obvious that you’re an English-speaking tourist. Call Uber to get in and out of the neighborhood and between bars.

Best All-Around: Botafogo

Botafogo, one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, is emerging as the city’s new nightlife hotspot as locals and tourists alike become increasingly frustrated with Lapa’s flagrant rowdiness.

Arnaldo Quintela Street is where the heart of nightlife in the neighborhood is to be found. Hailed as one of the “coolest streets in the world right now” by Time Out. Deserted mechanic shops are now hipster hangouts for eating and drinking.

Hit moody Calma to see and be seen, then head to Bar Botica, a cozy curbside spot with beer and gastronomic Brazilian bar food to fuel up for dancing at Macuna.

When the dancing starts becoming draining, grab a slice at artsy Ferro e Farinha before continuing on to Mãe Joana for samba.

Other local favorites in the neighborhood include Xepa, a colorful spot with street food-esque plates that is winning over hearts, and Cabidinho, a casual beer hall.

A cocktail at a bar in Leblon, one of the best nightlife neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro.

Leblon

Attracting Rio’s most elite residents, upmarket Leblon is a go-to pick for a young, fashionable crowd and tourists visiting the city.

Dias Ferreira Street is where most of the neighborhood’s nightlife is concentrated. Here, nondescript pubs like Jobi rub shoulders with slightly more polished establishments.

Academia da Cachaça is practically a cachaça library, while Bar Bracarense holds down Rio’s pé-sujo bar style with a little more glitz than those in nearby Copacabana.

Liz Cocktail & Co is a must-stop—the tiny watering hole in Leblon is one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro.

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