Ever since the clubland explosion of the 1990s, when 'going out' came to be a lifestyle choice, rather than a simple trip down the disco – there has been a vacuum where clubs for the older crowd should be. Not so in São Paulo, where a series of bars and clubs aimed at clients over the age of 35 have emerged right across the city.
Whether it's in clubs like Metrópolis where women in high heels and tight dresses dance to the sound of live bands playing rock and pop, or at the discreet and long-running ABC Bailão, geared towards 50-something gay men and featuring pop, samba and Brazilian sertanejo country music, nights for people in their thirties and forties are at least as profitable as those for younger adults. In some cases, they are more so, thanks to deep-pocketed older clientele.
In Vila Olímpia, you can't miss the entrance to The History, with its garish disco balls and mirrored exterior just a taste of what awaits inside: it's a glittering shrine to the 1970s, '80s and '90s, complete with another disco ball, this time giant-sized, a coloured LED dancefloor à la Saturday Night Fever, and an older crowd happily reliving its youth on the dancefloor.
Popular with a champagne- and whisky-fuelled forty- and fifty-something crowd, the live music spot Piove hosts a handful of bands each night, playing everything from pop rock to samba. Get down there early to set up camp at one of the tables surrounding the dancefloor, where you can order up some dinner, watch as things get messy on the dancefloor from around 1am onwards, or join in yourself.
Another hotspot for the older crowd, Itaim's Charles Edward morphs from well-stocked whisky bar – with furnishings that feel somewhere between a London pub and an old-fashioned gentlemen’s club – to frenetic disco as the night draws on, the volume ramps up, and the flirting gets ever more focused.
But it's not all about a whisky-sipping older crowd. Recently, parents have been given a chance to join in the fun along with their little ones, with the launch in August 2012 of Disco Baby. Crafted as much for parents as for the kids, the daytime party – 'matinee' – has been a hit with those seeking unconventional fun for their children. The volume is set at a healthy 80-85 decibels, with tame lighting, and no strobe light, dry ice or soap bubbles.
ABC Bailão Rua Marquês de Itú 182, Vila Buarque (3333 3537/ abcbailao.com.br). Cover R$15-$40. Read more on ABC Bailão
Charles Edward Avenida Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek 1426, Itaim Bibi (3078 5022/ barcharles.com.br). Cover R$34-$59.
Piove Rua Jerônimo da Veiga 75, Itaim Bibi (3071 2301/ piove.com.br). Cover R$15-$80.
Metrópolis Avenida Paulista 2668, Bela Vista (3256 7957/ barmetropolis.com.br). Cover R$9.50-$28.
The History Rua Gomes de Carvalho 820, Vila Olímpia (3846 4498/ thehistory.com.br).Cover R$50-$115.
- Prices were correct as of November 2012