A flirty, good-time crowd pack out this cocktail bar

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Low lighting, leather seating and a discerning hush are the usual hallmarks of a classic cocktail bar. Not here. At bar. – cue confusions of the ‘let’s meet at bar.’, ‘which bar?’, ‘it’s just called bar.’ variety – it’s lively and loud, and packed with a flashy, good-time crowd. Coiffeured girls in heels and guys sporting pressed shirts flit between the bar’s two floors, where long, standing-room-only counters, and a smoking den out front under the striking jabuticaba tree, make mingling all the easier.

The drinks menu – which you may need a torch to read, printed as it is on black card – is extensive without quite straying into eccentricity. Of the fifty-odd cocktails on the menu, we tried a few stand-outs: the refreshing Smash de Pepino (R$25), with Tanqueray Ten gin, cucumber and lemon juice; the Scarface (R$29), a perfectly balanced take on a Negroni with whisky, red vermouth, Angostura bitters and orange essence (R$27); and the Bramble de Gengibre (R$27), a sweet blend of Tanqueray gin, Chambord, lemon juice and a delicate tang of ginger syrup.

This is not the sort of place you drop in at for just one drink, however: there’s a cover charge for live jazz and groove after 8.45pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays (R$30), and a minimum spend (R$60 women, R$120 men) after 8.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays, when the party vibe ramps up, the cover charge is R$30.

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Start things off with a bite to eat on the bright ground floor, where timber-clad walls, wooden tables and cream canvas chairs lend a Scandinavian minimalist air. The menu is an odd mix of upmarket bar food and ambitious novelties, such as the wasabi-stuffed lychees (R$23) or the slow-cooked pork (R$43), served in a cloying sweet raspberry sauce with Chinese buns.

Stick to the bar food, which is prepared to perfection, from the moist mini hamburgers (R$33) to the moreish oriental beef sandwich (R$33) – strips of soy-marinated beef, Dijon mustard and emmental cheese on toasted onion bread – or the bite-sized, deep-fried mushroom croquetas (R$25), with a sublime savoury mushroom filling inside a crunchy golden shell.

Leave your inhibition downstairs as the night draws on, and join the party people upstairs, getting their groove on in the black-walled back room, lit only by a handful of naked lightbulbs and dazzling white teeth.

By Catherine Balston

bar. details

Address Rua Joaquim Antunes 248

Jardim Paulistano, São Paulo

Telephone (11) 3061 3810

bar. website

Prices small bottle beer R$9; caipirinha R$17.

Open 7pm-late Tue-Sat; 4pm-1am Sun.


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