A first-time traveler to Rio de Janeiro will be told that the best place in the city for nightlife is Lapa. However, for or a more alternative experience with whimsical bars and modern gastronomy, Botafogo is where it’s at. Botafogo was even considered 2017’s hottest neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. Here is a complete nightlife guide to one of the city’s best going-out spots.
The best places for…wine
Just like the name suggests, WineHouse is all about the wine. The best options to try on the menu are the Brazilian offerings which are making a small yet steady entrance into the world of global wines. The Brazilian sparkling whites or rosés are among the best to order yet don’t miss your chance of trying orange wine here too. Ask the owner – Dominic – for recommendations of the best food and wine pairings.
This French delicatessen is becoming a firm favorite on the Botafogo scene and even on a regular weekday night, expect to be added to a short waiting list for a table. Once you finally do get a seat, opt for one on the outdoor wooden terrace and select one of the many wines from the extensive menu. You can go to the bakery inside and choose your own platter of nibbles including fresh bread, various spreads, delicious cheese, and indulgent desserts.
Hocus Pocus is a locally-made beer and since 2016, it’s been voted as the best artisanal beer in Rio de Janeiro, according to Veja’s Comer & Beber, Brazil’s bible when it comes to wining and dining. The brewery finally opened their own bar in Botafogo which has a rustic setting of wooden beams and exposed brickwork and serves all the different types of Hocus Pocus. If beer is your thing, make sure you swing by to enjoy the best of Rio’s beer.
Spread over two floors, Marley’s Pub is the closest you’ll find to a good old pub in the traditional British-style. The live music (mostly rock and indie style) and the gourmet burgers and chips are worth the visit, yet the artisanal beers on draft are the cherry on the cake. They serve several local brands including Jeffrey’s, among the best artisanal beers in Rio de Janeiro and includes light Pilsens to heavier ales among its collection.
Jungle Garden Pub really does have a jungly garden out the back with vines sprawling up the walls and plenty of well-lit palms adding a bit of green to the venue. It’s a buzzing place with a good crowd of young professionals and people dropping in for an after-work drink (or two). The smooth cocktails and live music add to the social atmosphere.
Botafogo’s original hipster hangout, Comuna still stands out in Botafogo for its laid-back space and its homemade burgers. The venue often collaborates with a local artist by dedicating a wall for the artist to decorate how they please and there are also regular pop-up shops hosted here. Thursdays and the weekends are the busiest days where visitors end up spilling into the street outside when the patio inside gets too crowded.
This nightclub has several dance floors dedicated to rock and indie music, making it popular among the local young Brazilians and the foreign exchange students. The party kicks off around midnight and the doors rarely close before 6 a.m. Wednesdays are known as its karaoke nights where a live band plays various rock and indie hits to accompany you as you sing along to the crowded dancefloor before you.
This small nightclub is popular for after-work drinks and attracts many young and older professionals who work in Botafogo. The drinks menu with a selection of great cocktails is definitely one of the biggest draws to the place, yet many people love heading here on Tuesdays just for the karaoke nights. The music options include classic pop, rock, and indie choices and there is a live band on hand to provide the backing.
If you love rock music and all things metal, then Bar Bukowski is your spot. One of the only true rock bars in Rio de Janeiro, Bar Bukowski’s popularity has stood the test of time as it brings the best of American, British, and Brazilian rock to its eager audience every weekend. Set inside a former mansion, the space has several dance floors with different rock music and an outdoor patio which is great for chatting.
For a casual dinner date, head to South Ferro. The tiny venue creates an intimate atmosphere and the simple, minimalistic design keeps it feeling laid-back. The two highlights on the menu are the slices of homemade pizza and the ramen which is one of the best in Rio de Janeiro. They also serve wine and great cocktails.
The intimate atmosphere inside South Ferro | South Ferro
Oui Oui is a restaurant that marries French cooking techniques with typical Brazilian flavors to create a highly innovative menu. Rather than big, hearty portions, the food is prepared in little portions so diners can make their own, personalized tasting menu. For a romantic date night in a sophisticated setting, Oui Oui makes a great choice.