São Paulo has bars and dance clubs pretty much everywhere you look. In fact, it has the highest number of nightclubs in the world. Calling the going out options “nightlife” is a bit of a stretch, though, because the party scene goes on at all hours of the day. The variety of options is just as vast as the times people go out, too. There are classy cocktail bars, expansive beer bars, no-frills watering holes, raucous DJ parties — you name it, you can find it in São Paulo. Do it right, and a night out here might just be your best night out anywhere.

Vila Madalena

Photo: Benzina Bar/Facebook

Benzina BarBenzina is a cocktail bar with a crowd that trends younger. The cocktail menu includes all the well-known classics as well as Benzina riffs on the drinks you know and love, like the exotic piña colada made with cachaça (Brazil’s favorite spirit), coconut, and passionfruit. Cocktails range from US$5.50 to US$9. It’s spacious with an eclectic mix of furniture and exposed brick walls. The menu also features beer and snacks like popcorn, razorback potatoes, and empanadas.

Quitandinha — Located in the heart of Vila Madalena, Quitandinha is the spot to go for a few casual drinks. It’s also a top pick for late night drinks during the week, as it’s one of the few places open late every day. Quitandinha often has live music to accompany the cold beer and appetizers. Be sure to check it out for happy hour. It’s not the cheapest option in the city, but it’s definitely worth dropping by.

NossaCasaNossaCasa is for anyone who’s willing to let loose. Known to be a place where people can express themselves freely, expect the unexpected in here. The dance club is filled with bright colors and has regular live music, attracting people from all generations. Everyone is welcome at NossaCasa, and it’s more about the party than the drinks. It’s worth checking out, even if only for a short while.

Baixo Augusta and Consolação

Photo: Drosophyla Bar/Facebook

DrosophylaDrosophyla, an upmarket bar in the Consolação area, is ideal for a classy night of drinking. It’s located in a townhouse that dates back to the early 1900s and was once a gathering spot for artists in the city. The house was restored in 1986, and it retains a similar artistic vibe today. Grab a cocktail or two and dance or just sit back on one of the many chairs to people watch.

Dona Teresa — There are times when you want to dance all night, and others when you just need to sit and talk with friends. With the relaxed and laid-back feel that’s common at many bars in the neighborhood, Dona Teresa is a great place to enjoy a casual night out. Grab a big group of friends and sit at the tables with some beer and traditional Brazilian comfort food that’s listed on the chalkboard menu.

Lab ClubLab Club is a club with two dance floors, each featuring a different genre of music. The bar has standard club fare of vodka, tequila, and whiskey shots with Red Bull, but also has an experimental molecular mixology program that sets the drink options apart if you’re up to it. It’s the rare club where you can buy a drink with chemically altered ingredients. Open until 6:00 AM, it’s a fun place to dance the night away.

Pinheiros

Photo: Pitico/Facebook

PiticoPitico is mostly outdoors, and the bar section is located in an old shipping container. The vibe and street food attracts a young crowd. It’s on Rua Guaicuí, a street full of other bars near the Largo da Batata, and is perfect for starting off your night with a few beers and some street food to pick at.

Caulí Lounge Bar — Tucked away on a street between Pinheiros and the affluent Jardins area, Caulí is one of São Paulo’s leading cocktail bars. The drinks menu is enormous, and although known for gin and tonics, the more innovative cocktails are the real stars. Vôo pela Capadócia, a gorgeous rum-based cocktail served in a glass with a hot air balloon above it, is one of the best.

Empório Alto dos Pinheiros — If you’ve had enough cachaça for one lifetime, EAP serves over 500 beers from around the world. The beers are slightly pricier than your average beer bar due to quality and selection, but it’s somewhere you can’t miss out on if you like craft beer. Pop in for a drink or two before heading to the nearby Bráz Pizzaria.

Jardins

Photo: Hotel Unique/Facebook

Skye — With a 360 degree view of São Paulo, Skye offers great drinks to match. It’s on the rooftop of the luxurious Hotel Unique, and you can take a seat outside while gazing out on the city with a birds-eye view. The bar also has a fusion restaurant created by chef Emmanuel Bassoleil.

G&T BarG&T is the first bar in the city to specialize in gin and tonics. It’s more than just your ho-hum G&T, though. The drinks menu incorporates gins from around the world. Offering every gin-based cocktail you can imagine, G&T Bar is a gin lover’s dream.