Copacabana and Leme
Copa throbs at night, but more as a result of red-light district action on Avenida Atlântica and the oceanfront restaurants and bars crammed with international tourists. Nonetheless, there are a few exceptional enclaves.
Cervantes (Rua Barata Ribeiro 7-B, Copacabana, tel. 21/2275-6147, www.restaurantecervantes.com.br, noon–4 a.m. Sun. and Tues.–Thurs., noon–6 a.m. Fri.–Sat.) is one of Copa’s favorite botequins, especially after a night of carousing. The house specialties are the delicious and impossibly thick sandwiches—most of which feature abacaxi, a native species of pineapple. Try the Cervantes especial—abacaxi with filet mignon and paté.
Bip Bip (Rua Almirante Gonçalves 50, Loja D, Copacabana, tel. 21/2267-9696, 7 p.m.–1 a.m. daily) is a tiny hole-in-the-wall botequim with two saving graces: its location on a quiet Copa street, which allows tables and chairs to be arranged outside, and terrific musical jams by top Carioca samba, choro, and bossa nova performers. Utterly unpretentious, “Bip” is a welcome antidote to Copa’s touristy oceanfront bars.
Bunker 94 (Rua Raul Pompéia 94, Copacabana, tel. 21/2521-0367, 11:30 p.m.–close Thurs.–Sat., cover R$10–20) is a classic Copa hot spot that reels in a mixed local and international public. The diverse tunes at this trilevel joint—including rock, funk, hiphop, and soul—are spun by some of the city’s top DJs.
A more recent upstart on Copa’s club scene is Fosfobox (Rua Siqueira Campos 143, 22-A, Copacabana, tel. 21/2548-7498, www.fosfobox.com.br, 11 p.m.–close Wed.–Sun., R$15–20), an underground basement club that shares space with an antiques gallery. Depending on your spatial sensibilities “Fosfo’s” dance floor is either intimate or claustrophobic, but the upstairs Fosfobar is definitely conducive to mellowing out. The DJ-spun soundtrack ranges from rock to techno and the scene is Copa cool with a definite alternative edge.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition