If you are traveling to Rio for the Summer Olympic Games, then you are in the final stages of planning your trip, making necessary arrangements and buying the tickets. While watching the events live on the stadiums will be one-of-a-kind experience, and many tickets are still available, you might want to consider catching some competitions at one of the many local bars in Rio. Here are our favorite places to join the locals for a glass of beer and delicious Brazilian snacks and cheer for your favorites.
Within walking distance of the Maracanã Stadium, where the Opening as well as the Closing Ceremony in August will take place, Varnhagen bar is a favorite of soccer fans headed to and from the stadium. The family-owned boteco opened in 1944 on the corner of the square of the same name, Praca Varnhagen, in the Tijuca neighborhood.
In Rio, a boteco, or botequim, is a traditional bar with a small space, stand-up bar, refrigerators for cool drinks, and a tiny kitchen. Don’t visit this boteco just to watch the sporting events; instead, join the regulars and opt for the bolinhas de bacalhau (codfish balls) with ice cold beer.
Address: Praça Varnhagem, 14 A - Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
Cobal Do Leblon
During the day this place is just a market, but at night the large open area turns into a mixture of tables and plastic chairs where several cafes, bars and restaurants offer great food and cold beer. It is located in Leblon, considered the safest and the most exclusive neighborhood in Rio, adjacent to Ipanema. Beware that the place gets very busy when there are sporting events such as a soccer match, so expect crowds during the Olympic events as well.
Address: R. Adalberto Ferreira, 35 - Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
Photo credit: Carlos Rios on Flickr
Joaquina Bar and Restaurant
Offering delicious Brazilian cuisine, assorted snacks, cachaça and a good selection of both bottled and draft beer, this is the bar where locals gather to watch games on TV. It is located in the Cobal do Humaita along with several other bars and restaurants. It’s a lively place to hang out with family or grab a pint with friends.
Address: R. Voluntários da Pátria, 448 - Humaitá, Rio de Janeiro
Founded in 1969 Bar Popeye takes sports, especially soccer, very seriously, so a match is always on the TV. The atmosphere is laid back even though it is located not far from Ipanema beach, considered to be the most chic beach in the city. Here Brahma Chopp beer and roast beef sandwiches are a sure bet.
Address: R. Visc. de Pirajá, 181 - Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Photo credit: Julieet the french girl on Flickr
Armazém São Thiago (Bar do Gomez)
Bar do Gomez, as the locals call it, started off as a Spanish migrant's grocery store although these days, the classic Rio boteco offers much more than the tins and jars of olives still lining the shelves above the counter. Dig into the deep-fried bolinhos de bacalhau (cod balls) and shrimp pasteis and try one out of over sixty types of cachaça.
Address: Rua Áurea 26, Santa Teresa, Rio
Bar do Mineiro
This small space decorated with eclectic artwork is a local favorite for its feijoada, the typical Brazilian dish of pork and bean stew served with farofa, mustard greens, oranges, and rice. Good food combined with relaxed ambiance make this a favorite hangout of locals in Santa Teresa. The small bar gets crowded, especially on weekends, so you might have to wait for your table, but it will be worth it.
Address: Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno 99, Santa Teresa
Photo credit: Marco Nunes on Flickr
Shenanigan's Irish Pub
Since 2001 Shenanigan's Irish Pub has offere locals in Rio a chance to experience the atmosphere of an Irish pub. But more than the locals, it’s the foreigners who frequent this bar, as it’s one of the oldest meeting spots for foreigners in town. As the name suggests, this pub in the heart of the Ipanema neighborhood offers all things Irish--Irish food, drinks and music. Its décor is typical sports bar with a pool table, darts and big screens for watching the sports.
Address: R. Visc. de Pirajá, 112 A - Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro