After dark, these two adjoining bairros are always hopping. Offering some of São Paulo ’s biggest array of nightlife options, their bars and clubs attract an mixed public.
With a relaxed vibe and a classic ’50s bar atmosphere Astor (Rua Delfina 163, Vila Madalena, tel. 11/3815-1364, www.barastor.com.br , 5 p.m.–3 a.m. Mon.–Thurs., noon–4 a.m. Fri.–Sat., noon–midnight Sun.) is one of Vila Madalena ’s most popular watering holes. The beer is icy and there is an extensive wine list. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find customers merely drinking—the long list of petiscos includes mouthwatering fare such as gorgonzola and Italian sausage madeleines and spicy meatballs cooked in Stella Artois beer.
A wonderful place for a drink or a bite under the stars is Pé de Manga (Rua Arapiraca 152, Vila Madalena, tel. 11/3032-6068, www.pedemanga.com.br , 6 p.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Thurs., 6 p.m.–4 a.m. Fri., noon–4 a.m. Sat., noon–10 p.m.). Surrounding the lovely main house is an enormous patio sheltered by a trio of century-old mango trees. Unsurprisingly, the house cocktail is a simple but perfect mixture of vodka and frozen mango.
Sharing the premises of the Centro Brasileiro Britânico, Drake’s Bar and Deck (Rua Tacambira 163, Pinheiros, tel. 11/3812-4477, www.drakesbar.com , noon–1 a.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–11 p.m. Sun.–Mon., cover R$8) features a happy commingling of Britain and Brazil. While the interior is as warm and pubby as any bar in England (attracting Brits who drown their homesickness with Old Speckled Hen on tap), the garden is pure tropical jungle festooned with ipê trees and bromeliads. The drink menu features more than 100 imported beers.
Laid-back and not trying too hard, Blen Blen Brasil (Rua Inácio Pereira da Rocha 520, Pinheiros, tel. 11/3815-4999, 8 p.m.–3 a.m. Mon.–Sat., cover R$35) nonetheless impresses with the range of the musical bands that perform here. Mondays are reserved for jazz, Fridays for gafieira (ballroom samba), and Saturdays the dance floor heats up with “Blen Blen Black,” a night devoted to soul, funk, samba-rock and other funky Afro beats.
Avenida Club (Av. Pedroso de Moraes 1036, Pinheiros, tel. 11/3814-7383, www.avenidaclub.com.br , 9 p.m.–close Wed., 8:30 p.m.–close Thurs., 10 p.m.–close Sat., 7 p.m.–close Sun., cover R$15–25) is another refreshingly untrendy spot. This hybrid space features a café, a bar, and a vast ballroom with a shiny wooden floor where couples can trip the light fantastic to live and recorded samba, rumba, bolero, tango, and forró.
For something (a lot more) fashionable, Bubu Lounge Disco (Rua dos Pinheiros 791, Pinheiros, tel. 11/3081-9546, www.bubulounge.com , 11:30 p.m.–close Wed. and Fri.–Sat., 7 p.m.–close Sun., cover R$15–40) attracts an eclectic GLS crowd who lounge, flirt, drink, and dance in this sleekly modern multi-ambiance club, whose decorative highlight includes a mega aquarium. The house DJs and live bands are as diverse as the public, with a predilection for MPB, electronica, and lots of musical flashbacks to the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.
Occupying a beautifully preserved old house, Piratininga (Rua Wisard 149, Vila Madalena, tel. 11/3032-9775, www.piratiningabar.com.br , 6 p.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Thurs., 6 p.m.–close Fri.–Sat., 3 p.m.–1 a.m. Sun., cover R$8) is a classic Vila Mada boteco frequented by a laid-back clientele. The warm, softly lit interior gives off a romantic vibe, aided by the strains of live jazz and bossa nova that waft down from the mezzanine stage. The refreshing house cocktail, caipi pira, mixes vodka and Persian limes.
Decorated with photos of famous sambistas and escola de samba costumes, Samba (Rua Fidalga 308, Vila Madalena, tel. 11/3819-4619, 7 p.m.–midnight Wed., 7 p.m.–1 a.m. Thurs., 7 p.m.–2 a.m. Fri., 1 p.m.–2 a.m. Sat., 6 p.m.–midnight Sun., cover R$10–20) lives up to its name by serving as an informal temple devoted to the best of Carioca and Paulistano samba rhythms. Informal and authentic, it is a great place to hear some top names and cut a rug. On Saturday afternoons a tasty feijoada is served.
Grazie a Dio! (Rua Girassol 67, Vila Madalena, tel. 11/3031-6568, 8 p.m.–1:30 a.m. Mon.–Thurs., 8 p.m.–2 a.m. Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.–midnight Sun., cover R$15–20) started off as a Mediterranean bistro. The rear dining area continues to serve up eclectic fare whose influences range from Italian to Moroccan. Meanwhile, the dance floor at the front of the house is always packed with youths grooving to live performances of pop, samba-rock, and salsa. Shows begin at 10 p.m. Afterwards, DJs keep the momentum going until closing.