5 bars you can’t miss in Rio
Rio de Janeiro was for centuries Brazil’s capital and cultural center.
That and its tropical weather, which invites to outdoor activities made the city famous for its “botecos”, places with simple decoration, tasty and generous food and a courteous service. They are a mix of pubs, casual diners and joints.
Throughout history these places sheltered generations of bohemian artists and intellectuals who while praising their muses and unfortunate love affairs debated a bit about everything: from samba to bossa nova, politics, soccer, carnival, the economy. There’s always a group of friends to gather at one of the many botecos in town. Here we list some which are really worthy a visit.
1. Bar do Luiz
Open 129 years ago, it is located downtown and since the beginning serves German specialties due to his first owner a Swiss immigrant called Jacob. It was his nephew Adolph who made this “chopp house” (beer on tap) famous. During WW2 an angry mob of students nearly brought havoc to the place thinking The Adolph Bar was a mention to the German dictator. A famous journalist and composer of the world famous song “Aquarela do Brasil” saved it. Adolph then adopted Brazilian citizenship and became Luiz. When you visit make sure to order the potato salad, one of the house treats.
2. Nova Capela
It is located at Lapa, the city’s most bohemian neighborhood, and has the appearance of a Portuguese tasca (small tavern). Always busy, be sure to taste codfish fritters and roasted kid garnished with rice and broccoli.
3. Café Lamas
In the traditional neighborhood of Flamengo this cafe became famous by naming its juicy steaks after famous writers, journalists and artists who were regular customers. One of them is named after Oswaldo Aranha, Brazilian diplomat, first UN president.
4. Bar Urca
There is no history or food that can overshadow the landscape here. Located at the rear end of Urca neighborhood it offers an astonishing view of Guanabara Bay. You may choose the upstairs room with a view. But the regulars prefer to buy their shrimp pastries, a bottle of beer and cross the narrow street to sit at the low wall and stay a few feet from the tranquil waters of the bay with fishing boats and an unforgettable sunset.
5. Armazém São Thiago
Wanna travel in time? Then go uphill to Santa Teresa neighborhood and visit this typical 1920’s bar. All the furniture was restored by the grandson of the founder who came from Spain to open a Grocery store to serve a once rich clientele at the houses around. You can dine, eat appetizers and taste one of the many labels of cachaça (sugar cane brandy).