Sao Paulo Nightlife

Eschewing sleep, Paulistanos love to put the day behind them and enjoy São Paulo’s cornucopia of nocturnal offerings. There are neighbourhood bars all over the city, while nightclubs come and go in a dynamically ephemeral scene. Bohemian Vila Madalena’s bars draw youthful crowds while the Baixo side of Rua Augusta is shedding a seedy reputation and forging a happening identity. For live music, São Paulo looks towards northeast Brazilian forró rather than samba. São Paulo also rules the classic roost with world-class operatic performances, dance companies and orchestral arrangements.

Leading newspaper Folha de São Paulo produces a weekly Friday listings called Guia de Folha, while Time Out magazine runs a monthly São Paulo edition in English.

Bars in Sao Paulo

Alberta #3

Breathing new life into Centro, this three-story drinking den has drawn hipsters back to the workaday downtown. Indie and rock plays overhead to an eclectic crowd, who sip fancy cocktails in plush leather seats before heading to the basement dance floor. The bar’s name is an appropriate wordplay on a Bob Dylan track because Alberta #3’s fun-loving owner, Ivan Finotti, bears a passing resemblance to the great singer-songwriter.

Avenida São Luís 272, República, Sao Paulo, 01406-000, Brazil
Telephone: +55 11 3151 5299.
Skye Bar

Drop dead cool ambience and cocktails expensive enough to fall into the splurge category. This trendy restaurant-cum-bar is arranged around a pool on the rooftop of the boutique Hotel Unique and is frequented by São Paulo’s smart set. A DJ spins ambient grooves against a backdrop of dazzling views over the city’s illuminated skyline and it’s best to come early for a sunset cocktail.

Avenida Brigadeiro Luís Antônio 4700, Jardim Paulista, Sao Paulo, 01402-002, Brazil
Telephone: +55 11 3055 4710.

Among the bar-lined streets of Vila Madalena, SubAstor makes a great destination for cocktail connoisseurs. In a beautiful setting tucked out of sight, SubAstor is one of São Paulo's first speakeasy bars. It attracts a hip crowd who come for an imaginative drink menu and high-end pub fare. To get there, find the Astor restaurant, and look for the velvet curtains leading downstairs into the unsigned SubAstor.

Rua Delfina 163, Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo, 05443-010, Brazil
Telephone: +55 11 3815-1364.

One of the classic botecos (neighborhood bars) of São Paulo, Veloso is famed for its delicious caipirinhas (made from exotic tropical fruits), its tasty bar snacks and its garrulous after-work crowds. Don't miss the fantastic coxinhas (battered and fried shredded chicken and melted cheese). Come early, from 1730, to score one of the few tables in this lively watering hole. Handily, it’s located just a short stroll from the Vila Mariana metro station.

Rua Conceição Veloso 56, Vila Mariana, Sao Paulo, 04110-120, Brazil
Telephone: +55 11 5572-0254.

Clubs in Sao Paulo


Pulsating LED displays create an ambient lightshow that breathe to the heartbeat of the DJ’s mixes. This doyen of edgy techno and house dance music is an A-lister that’s regularly voted by magazines as one of the best dance venues in the world. Different themes for different nights include Freak chic and Mothership as the club draws a mixed gay and straight crowd who share a serious love of deep grooves.

Av Auro Soares de Moura Andrade 141, Barra Funda, Sao Paulo, 01156-001, Brazil
Telephone: +55 11 3665-9500.

Live Music in Sao Paulo


Tucked inside one of Brazil's most stylish stays, Hotel Fasano, Barretto stages top name performers in an intimate concert space. Caetano Veloso, Maria Rita and Bebel Gilberto are among the luminaries who've played to the well-heeled crowd that gathers here. The decor is classic with plank floors, wood and leather seats and a bygone air of old colonial drinking dens.

Rua Vitória Fasano 88, Jardins, Sao Paulo, 01414-020, Brazil
Telephone: +55 11 3896-4000.
Canto de Ema

Sweat-drenched intimacy and fancy footwork herald the best place in town to enjoy forró (a type of Brazilian music and dance). For those less confident over their moves, dance classes are available before show time on Thursdays and Saturdays from 2030 to 2130 and on Sundays from 1700 to 1800. Regular live acts belt out the rhythms of forró and xote to enthusiastic crowds who bop until they drop. Bands begin at 2230 on Wednesday through to Saturday and at 1900 on Sunday.

Avenida Brig. Faria Lima 364, Pinheiros, Sao Paulo, 05426-200, Brazil
Telephone: +55 11 3813 4708.

Classical Music in Sao Paulo

Teatro Municipal

This grand old dame of classic performances is as memorable for its majestic presence as performances. The sumptuous auditorium dates from the early 20th century and offers opera, dance from the resident Ballet da Cidade, theatre, and classical concerts. Guided tours are available for those simply wanting to gawp at the grandeur.

Praça Ramos de Azevedo, República, Sao Paulo, 01307-010, Brazil
Telephone: +55 11 3397 0300.

Opera in Sao Paulo

Sala São Paulo

Recognized as one of the top concert halls in all South America, the Sala hosts regular operatic and symphonic performances from the resident São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. The building was the former Sorocaban Railway station, completed in the 1930s at a time when the city was growing quickly on the back of the coffee boom. Six decades later, it was transformed into the Júlio Prestes Cultural Complex and became a key part of the city's cultural renaissance.

Praça Júlio Prestes 16, Campos Elíseos, Sao Paulo, 01218-020, Brazil
Telephone: +55 11 3367 9500.
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