As if Rio de Janeiro didn’t already have enough natural beauty with its impeccable coastline and exotic forests, it also has a small yet stunning lake known as Lagoa in the south zone of the city. Lagoa is the perfect place to take a meditative break from city life, and with several good drinking spots nearby, there’s no better way to enjoy it than with a cold caipirinha or two.
Bar, Restaurant, German, Brazilian, Beer, $$$
This German bar overlooks the lake, offering great views for those sitting on the bar’s open terrace. The bar used to be known as Bar Berlin yet the name was swiftly changed after a series of anti-war demonstrations during the 1930s. Its name being the only thing that has changed since then is part of its charm — with the light pink walls and bar decor the same as it was nearly 90 years ago, Bar Lagoa stays true to its roots. The white wurst makes an excellent snack to accompany a cold draft beer.
Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub, Brazilian, American, $$$
This bar is all about its mellow vibe and incredible lakeside view. Just pull up a cushion and sit down at one of the candlelit tables and enjoy the peaceful surroundings mixed with the lively banter of fellow bar guests. The caipirinhas here are flawless and come in several varieties, with strawberry or passionfruit being delicious alternatives to the traditional lime flavor. Palaphita Kitch is perfectly located to catch the best views of the sunset and with a comfy outdoor setting, it’s harder to imagine a better place to do so.
Although part of the same group, Palaphita Gavea offers a totally different experience than its sister store, Palaphita Kitch. The ‘Gavea’ joint attracts a young or young-at-heart crowd with its lively and energetic atmosphere. With various types of music from house to deep bass and a crowded dance floor, it’s definitely the place to go to get your groove on. There is also a quieter bar area for chatting, mingling and sipping on one of the many cocktails on the menu. This is a strictly no flip-flops venue, giving you the chance to dress up a bit in a city where casual attire is the norm.
A couple of blocks away from the lake is Bingo restaurant, a sophisticated establishment with white walls, wooden details and is decorated with indigenous objects. Happy Hour runs between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. with cocktails and beers marked at half price, making the expensive menu somewhat affordable. The cocktails are perfectly blended, elegantly presented and so delicious that it’s all too easy to get carried away with their flavor. Luckily, the menu has excellent nibbles to help sober you up.
This rooftop bar is a few blocks away from Lagoa but is worth every step taken to get there. After going up a narrow red stairway, you enter the eye-catching bar with its soft colors, wooden walls and semi-open rooftop. This bar attracts the residents from the upper-class neighborhood Jardim Botanico and therefore the dress code is quite fancy; however, the vibe is fun, energetic and further fueled with live music and an assortment of tasty cocktails and an extensive wine menu.
Belmonte is the place to be with its friendly atmosphere and generously filled empadas (pies) that match perfectly with the cold beer on tap. This bar attracts a mixed crowd and has a casual dress code, creating a light and welcoming environment. As the night goes on, the bar gets more and more packed until people are spilling out onto the pavement with light-hearted laughing filling the air. This bar is one of the best spots to go for a classic Rio chopp, which is a small glass of icy cold beer.
Low-key and nondescript is the charm of this classic boteco (a small bar typical in Rio), where its simplicity only serves to highlight the extra cold beer, friendly service and satisfying snacks. This bar won’t win points for an engaging atmosphere but is perfect for a homemade caipirinha or simple food with none of the frills.
Small with only space to sit outside, it would be easy to walk past this bar and not give it a second look. However, it would be a shame to miss out on Bar Rebouças, a place where you feel like you’re a guest in someone’s home, enjoying a relaxed air over drinks and bites to eat. For an icy cold beer and a strong caipirinha, you can’t go wrong at Bar Rebouças — it’s a great starting point for a longer night out or as a place to enjoy a couple of cold ones after a long day.
Painted lime green on the outside, the inside of this bar resembles a knickknack store with various quirky and colorful decorations on show. This bar hosts a fun and almost childlike feel, yet the drinks are definitely for adults only. A must try drink would be the caipirinhas, which come with an ice-lolly in them, making everything even more delicious and sweet.
Simplicity is the essence of this bar, yet it does exactly what it says on the tin — serves icy cold chopps, strong caipirinhas that are guaranteed to make eyes water and simple yet filling snacks. This bar is just a couple of blocks away from the lake en route to Ipanema, so it’s a perfect drop-in place going back and forth between the beach and Lagoa. By Sarah Brown