Although there are few nightlife options right on Avenida Paulista, behind it—in the districts known as Consolação (adjacent to Rua de Consolação) and Bela Vista (which includes Bixiga)—bars and clubs run the gamut from sleazy dives, go-go clubs, and 24-hour fluorescent sidewalk bars to cutting-edge hot spots that attract a younger and extremely eclectic crowd.
Funky, offbeat, and laid-back, Drosophyla (Rua Pedro Taques 80, Consolação, www.drosophyla.com.br , 8 p.m.–1:30 a.m. Mon.–Wed., 8 p.m.–2 a.m. Thurs.–Sat.) occupies a lovely 1940s house that features a back yard filled with lime, pear, and jabuticaba trees. An arty crowd regularly gathers to converse amid the mellow tunes and visual kitsch that includes lamps made from macaroni and aquariums filled with dead cell phones. The imaginative menu’s culinary influences range from Mineiro (empanadas filled with Minas cheese) to Polynesian (marinated raw tuna in coconut milk). The caipirinhas—mango with pimenta rosa and carambola (star fruit) with basil—are delicious.
Choperia Opção (Rua Carlos Comenale 97, Bela Vista, tel. 11/3288-7823, 4 p.m.–close daily) is a good opção for a cool drink within spitting distance of Avenida Paulista . Hidden conveniently behind the Museu de Arte de São Paulo , its plastic tables and chairs are shaded by two enormous rubber trees. The clientele veers towards preppy. The chope isn’t that great for a choperia, but the caipiroskas—vodka mixed with kiwis, passion fruit, and strawberries—pack a wallop.
A Lôca (Rua Frei Caneca 916, Bela Vista, tel. 11/3159-8889, www.aloca.com.br , midnight–6 a.m. Thurs., midnight–10 a.m. Fri.–Sat., 7 p.m.–6 a.m. Sun., cover R$20) is one of Sampa ’s most legendary underground “inferninhos” (little hells). Its dark cavernlike innards attract a colorfully vanguard mix of gays, lesbians, drag queens, rockers, and alternatives of all types and stripes itching to dance the night away to rock and electronica. Theme nights abound, so check the listings in advance.
Gloria (Rua 13 de Maio 830, Bela Vista, tel. 11/3287-3700, www.clubegloria.com.br , 11 p.m.–close Fri.–Sat., cover R$25–35) was formerly a church (in the 19th century) and an underground theater (in the late 20th century) before its recent transformation into a nightclub. Vestiges of its former lives have been integrated into its present incarnation as a temple where the funky and fashionable worship. The space features an ’80s style-lounge decked out in gold leather futons, a mirrored dance floor, and four bars, one of which serves only drinks made with champagne. Twice a month, bad boy stylist Alexandre Herchcovitch and his inseparable pal, Johnny Luxo, freelance as DJs. Tunes tend towards house and electro.
Among the scores of divier, grungier night spots lining Rua Augusta, Vegas Club (Rua Augusta 765, Consolação, tel. 11/3231-3705, www.vegasclub.com.br , 11:30 p.m.–5 a.m. Tues.–Thurs., 11 p.m.–7 a.m. Fri., 11 p.m.–11 a.m. Sat., 10 p.m.–close Sun., cover R$15–30) makes a statement with its glam aura lifted from ’50s-era Las Vegas. The resulting prevalence of neon and red velvet appears to strike a chord with the hip and happening crowd of playboys, gay boys, and moderninhos. The music varies from techno and hiphop to funk and rock.
Geni (Rua Bela Cintra 539, Jardim Paulista, tel. 11/3129-9638, www.geniclub.com.br , 6 p.m.–1 a.m. Tues.–Sun., cover R$10–20) was the name of the madame whose brothel once occupied this imposing villa. Restored and decorated in a retro boudoir style that mixes plush red sofas and easy chairs with modern art works, each room has its own unique ambiance. One salon outfitted with a small stage functions as a micro club, where rock, jazz, and soul shows take place. The crowd tends towards trendy twenty-somethings. There is an extensive menu of petiscos to nibble on.