Enjoying Sao Paulo's bars, restaurants and nightlife

Enjoying Sao Paulo's bars, restaurants and nightlife

Sao Paulo's restaurants:
São Paulo has a superb diversity of restaurants, and the prices can be relatively low compared to European and American standards. When eating out, a tip of 10 percent on the value of the bill is usually included. Some restaurants don't include service charges (occasion when you may come across the message "Serviço não incluso" at the end of the bill), but unless the staff are upsettingly rude, do pay the standard 10 percent service fee as it is usually part of their wages.

It is not common to leave handbags on the floor; local superstition says your money can go away. The waiters may even offer an extra chair for you to leave your belongings whilst you have your meal. Many restaurants have a small hanger underneath the dining table, or a hook-and-loop velcro fastener on the chair rest for you to hang your bag.

If you don't know what to order in a Brazilian bar, look up for mandioca (Portuguese for manioc or cassava root) on the menu. Most likely they'll have it, deep-fried and sprinkled with salt (great alternative to chips!), or cooked and seasoned with melted butter. If you are up to a more conservative choice, french fries are spelled batata frita in Brazilian Portuguese.

Sao Paulo's bars:
You will have no trouble finding bars in São Paulo, where you can enjoy an ice cold beer, a shot of cachaça or a caipirinha - or anything else for that matter. A chopp (a 300 ml glass of draught beer) will set you back between R$ 2 and R$ 10 (in extreme cases), depending on the bar, but anything around R$3,10 is fine.

There are two ways of serving beer in bars: draft or bottled.

Draft lager beer is called chope or chopp ('SHOH-pee'), and is commonly served with one inch of foam, but you can always ask for it "sem colarinho" (without foam) if you prefer. In bars, the waiter will usually collect the empty glasses and bottles on a table and replace them with full ones, until you ask him to stop, in a "tap" charging system.

In the case of bottled beer, bottles (600 ml) are shared among everyone in the table and poured into small glasses, rather than drank straight from the bottle. Brazilians like their beer nearly ice-cold - hence, to keep the temperature down, the bottles are often kept in an insulated polystyrene container on the table.

Vila Madalena and Itaim have a very high concentration of bars, and are great spots for an all-nighter.

Sao Paulo's nightlife:
This city has an unbelievably rich and diverse nightlife, and is able to provide entertainment for all tastes, from traditional samba-rock live music to electro-pop night clubs. It is worth planning at least one night out while you're in town. On the other hand, São Paulo's nightlife can be quite expensive; most clubs charge an entrance fee. Usually, entrance hovers around R$ 25 (US$ 14), but they can be over R$ 100 (US$ 55) in some upscale places.

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