Bar do Lado
Bar do Lado's carioca cahaca tonic.
This bar is little more than a terrace with tables at the side of the Marina All Suites hotel. But since opening two years ago, it has been the place to be seen among Rio's well-heeled party crowd. Queues are shorter and service is better at the hotel's more upscale Bar d'Hotel on the first floor. Ave Bartolomeu Mitre, 15, Leblon, +55 21 2172 1120,allsuites.hoteismarina.com.br
When actress Leandra Leal inherited the Rival, one of Rio's oldest theatres, she knew it couldn't survive on income from plays and concerts. Last February she and her husband, impresario Alê Youssef, hosted a party in front of the theatre that drew a star-studded crowd and was the talk of the town, prompting them to make it a regular event. The party happens every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, with signature snacks and dishes by Katia Barbosa, the chef-owner of Rio's best gastro pub, the Aconchego Carioca. Expect the likes of feijoada fritters and shrimp bobó, a stew thickened with manioc flour. Meanwhile, the Rival has been revived with an eclectic program of shows, from burlesque to samba, and entry is free. Rua Alvaro Alvim 33/37, Centro, +55 21 2240 4469
Carioca da Gema
Set in an historic mansion, this is the leading samba bar in Lapa, the city's samba district. Its calendar of live shows draws big crowds. The scene is cabaretmeets- carnival: a band plays on a small stage, while party-goers dance and drink Caipirinhas and beers at tightly packed tables. Ave Mem de Sá, 79, Centro, +55 21 2221 0043,barcariocadagema.com.br
Bar Urca's Carne seca Aimpim.
The best seats in the house are across the road. Regulars order fritters that resemble pastéis, filled with meat or shrimp, or breaded cod balls called bolinhos, and ice-cold beers at the bar, then cross the street to sit on the stone wall facing the bay. On a sunny day, nothing tops watching the boats bobbing in the bay with a beer and some of the city's best snacks in hand. Rua Cândido Gaffrée, 205, Urca, +55 21 2295 8744, barurca.com.br
Baretto Londra's exotic passion drink.
Tucked behind the lobby of Hotel Fasano on Ipanema Beach, this loud clubby bar is an expression of hotel co-owner Rogerio Fasano's love of rock and roll and London, hence the name. Ave Vieira Souto, 80, +55 21 3202 4000, fasano.com.br