The Best Samba Bars In São Paulo

Dancing at Bar Mangueira
Dancing at Bar Mangueira | © Mangueira Bar
Lise Alves

Samba is usually associated with Rio de Janeiro, but São Paulo’s samba roots go way back as well and there’s no shortage of excellent clubs to enjoy this genre in the city. Wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing, so that when your feet and body start to move nothing will get in the way of a good time. Most clubs will give you a comanda, a paper that keeps tabs of drinks and food, so don’t feel obliged to stay in one place. Cover charges depend on the artist performing and the day of the week. Here are some suggestions of samba bars not to be missed in São Paulo.

1. Vila Do Samba

Music Venue, Concert Hall

A household name in São Paulo’s music scene, the Vila do Samba is one of the best places to hear samba in the city. Located in the Casa Verde neighborhood – known to be the home of São Paulo samba roots – the establishment is very close to the city’s two most famous samba schools, the Rosas de Ouro and Camisa Verde e Branco. The club is part of a small group of townhouses and to reach the main venue where the shows take place, the public must pass through a charming villa. To maintain the peaceful mood among music lovers, Vila do Samba does not allow customers to enter wearing Brazilian football (soccer) team shirts. The establishment has become so popular with samba music lovers that it even has a small school of its own, Feliz Na Vila, whose students parade down neighbourhood streets in the weeks leading up to Carnival. Vila do Samba also features feijoada on Saturdays, happy hour and special events.

Hours: Tuesdays 7pm–2am, Fridays 9pm–3am, Saturdays 1pm–11pm, Sundays 2pm–12am

2. Traço de União

Cocktail Bar, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Brazilian, South American

In the heart of São Paulo’s most bohemian samba region lies Traço de União, one of the most traditional samba houses in the city. Visitors are often welcomed with the sound of the cuíca (a small friction drum with a high-pitched sound) and the tambourine. Guest artists and house bands guarantee hours of lively music and dance. The large open area is decorated with the colors of several samba schools, and the establishment is proud to have hosted shows by legendary samba school singers, such as Neguinho da Beija-Flor and Dona Ivone Lara. On Saturdays, the fun begins in the early afternoon with the traditional feijoada served in a ceramic bowl.

Hours: Fridays 5pm–3am, Saturdays 1:30pm–3am

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