By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For those who think Ipanema is only about the beach, boutique shopping and gourmet restaurants, they will definitely be in for a treat. Considered one of the favorite neighborhoods among the foreigners, Ipanema offers a number of great bar options, and it was not easy to pick only five.
First on the list is the small, informal, and chilled (except on the weekends), Canastra bar, which proves that a bar is not always just about beer.
With an expansive area of tables placed on the Rua Jangadeiros’ sidewalk, Canastra is a great pick for wine and cheese lovers, offering the best labels of red, white and rose labels.
Run by three French expatriates, Canastra’s menu brings the most special dishes with highly selected ingredients, like the Salamanca’s raw ham. What’s more, the bar promotes a fresh oyster’s festival every Tuesday.
Mexican bar and restaurant Blue Agave on Rua Vinicius de Moraes is always a great option, with good food, a cool-yet-casual environment and a prime central Ipanema location. Attracting many expatriates, tourists and Brazilians the Blue Agave makes for a perfect spot to have a drink or two and don’t forget to try out their famous nachos.
The bar opened in 2009 and has been owned by American expatriates since the beginning. They make sure to show all the international sports, from football (soccer), rugby, NFL (American football), NBA basketball, NHL hockey, even the UFC and big boxing matches. It’s a favorite expat hangout and a great place to get to know other English speakers.
If good artisan beer is your thing, Ipanema is also the right neighborhood, where Delirium Tap House is situated. Run by Delirium, prestigious Belgium label that has already been awarded as the best beer in the world, the bar offers twenty different beer taps.
Located on Rua Nascimento Silva, Delirium Tap House is also a great place for drinks and food. Make sure to try the gold velvet (a blend of witbier, sparkling wine and pineapple juice) and one of Delirium’s delicious burgers.
A more upscale, classy atmosphere can be found at the recently inaugurated Nosso. Located in a charming house at Maria Quitéria Street, its sophisticated drinks and dishes are undoubtedly worth the higher prices. You will also enjoy Nosso if you are a rum lover: their rum drinks, with labels from Cuba and Jamaica, are the house’s specialties.
“The decor is hip, it reminds me of some of the underground, speakeasy bars in London and New York. It is a little pretentious, but I can cope with it because the gin cocktails are amazing!,” says Rachel Brabbins, British expatriate who has been living in Rio for two years.
In Ipanema it is also possible to find traditional options, like the Sabugosa bar. Originally from 1965, Sabugosa still preserves the menu from Rio’s vintage bars, usually characterized by homemade Portuguese food.
Besides Brahma’s and Stella Artrois’ draught beer for fair prices, one can find dishes like “carne louca”, a mixture of meat, cheese, olives and capers.