Jardim Botanico is considered one of Rio de Janeiro’s most upscale and trendiest neighbourhoods. Surrounded by the leafy vegetation of the Atlantic forest, it is a peaceful yet buzzing region. Go with the flow of the area and head to some of the city’s most modern and quirky bars, from rooftop venues to cocktail joints inside reformed colonial mansions. Here are the best bars in the Jardim Botanico neighbourhood.
Bar do Horto
Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, Brazilian, Beer, Wine, Vegetarian, Fast Food, $$$
The playful Bar do Horto, set inside a lime-green colonial mansion, has a warm-coloured interior with dozens of quirky decorations creating a whimsical setting. Its location on a quiet street in the Jardim Botanico neighbourhood encourages visitors to arrive early to grab a table outside to enjoy the peaceful and relaxed surroundings. The live music brings a good dose of fun to the weekends there, as do the extensive wine list and the flawless cocktails.
One of Jardim Botanico’s most picturesque bars, Sobe is an open-roofed terrace venue with live music at the weekends. The strings of fairy lights and hanging upside-down umbrellas add a quirky edge to the minimalist decor. If you take a step back you can see the tips of the Botanical Garden’s palm trees on the skyline. The food mixes Brazilian classics with international cuisine, with standout dishes including the salmon tartare. There’s a good selection of drinks on the menu.
Belmonte is a chain of botecos (Brazilian-style bars) that truly embraces all things Brazilian, from the classic chopps (small glasses of beer) to the freshly deep-fried pastries. Although all its seating is inside, the large open walls create an airy feel and sitting on the edge of the bar is a good spot for people-watching. Go there to enjoy a mean dried meat pie with cream cheese, washed down with an extra-cold beer.
The crisp colour scheme and modern furniture create a trendy vibe at Bingo bar and restaurant. The menu has ample options within contemporary Brazilian cuisine, including a hearty and rich feijoada (bean stew) on Fridays and Saturdays and a sophisticated breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu that also includes vegetarian options. Save room for dessert; the chocolate mousse tart with fruit sauce and lime zest has no sugar and can be enjoyed guilt-free. The relaxed atmosphere and the impeccable service add to the friendly vibe of the place, making it a great meeting point to catch up with friends. There is also a great selection of wines and thoughtfully made cocktails.
Jardim Botanico is full of trendy, upscale bars that cater to the area’s wealthy residents. However, Rebouças Bar has stubbornly stuck to its traditional ways and maintains a simple, casual bar that has barely changed in the last few decades. This is where its charm lies, and its strategy of preserving its customs continues to draw in crowds of people each night. Try the deep-fried prawn and cream-cheese dumplings with an extra cold beer.
Although a tapas restaurant, the easy, laid-back environment of Venga makes it the ideal spot for drinking sangria on the outdoor terrace while taking in the tranquil ambiance of Jardim Botanico. The sangria is made with either red wine, white wine, or rosé, making it almost inevitable that you make the most of being there and try all three. Despite the deliciousness of the sangria, be sure to check the wine menu for a fantastic selection of imported wines and Portuguese ports.
Bar dos Amigos – “the Friends Bar” – is a cheerful, traditional bar located on a quiet street in Jardim Botanico. It’s the ideal spot to try typical Brazilian snacks such as dried meat with fried onions. The cheap beer makes it a popular choice among budget travelers. It closes early, around 9 p.m., so head there for pre-drinks and snacks before heading to one of the nearby late-night bars such as Sobe or Bar do Horto.