A secret garden hideaway with divine drinks

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I have a friend who's always thrown by the waitresses at Drosophyla. Not literally: he doesn't get that drunk, and they're generally very polite. It's the two hands printed on the back of their T-shirts that confuse him. He keeps thinking they're engaged in a steamy clinch rather than taking an order for a Cosmopolitan or a pint of Guinness, both of which are served here.

Coupled with a chaotically colourful and charming decor in a style they call 'contemporary baroque' – but which might be better described as 'eccentric gentleman artist's upmarket squat' – the T-shirts give Drosophyla a delightfully surreal atmosphere. Indeed, this bar and its customers delight in a certain comfortable oddness. It's even named after an insect: Drosophila melanogaster, also known as the banana fly, the vinegar fly or the plain-old fruit fly.

Opened in 2002 and perennially popular with a slightly older, more bohemian crowd, Drosophyla is easy to miss from the outside – it’s just a quiet doorway on a gloomy street near Consolação. Stepping inside and through the looking glass, you find yourself in a tiled room full of comfortable tables. One of which, for some reason, invariably features a couple furiously snogging, possibly inspired by the waitresses’ T-shirts. Wander down a corridor decorated with bizarre bric-a-brac, past the solitary men's loo, whose walls are plastered with filthily hilarious vintage women's underwear adverts, and you reach the main event.

It’s a leafy, paved, discreetly illuminated garden scattered with mismatched tables and chairs. Glowing with lights at one end is a cosy little shed with a bar in it. Up a flight of concrete steps is a smoker's patio which even has a few plants choking in the fumes.Like the bar itself and its eclectic clientele – anything from bright young things to aging party animals – this garden has a dishevelled elegance that doesn't need to try to be cool. Out here, the buzz is of conversation, not hype. The only flies on Drosophyla are those on the website.

By Dom Phillips

Drosophyla details

Address Rua Pedro Taques 80

Consolação, São Paulo

Metrô 2, Consolação

Telephone (11) 3120 5535

Drosophyla website

Prices Small bottle beer R$7; caipirinha R$13; minimum spend R$20-$40

Major cards accepted

Open 7pm-2am Mon-Wed; 8pm-2am Thu; 8pm-3am Fri, Sat



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