Traditional bar neighborhoods include boteco-filled Vila Madalena (mainstream); along Rua Mario Ferraz in Itaim Bibi (rich, bold and beautiful); and Baixo Augusta, where the GLS scene (Portuguese slang for Gay, Lesbian and Sympathetics) mingles with artsy hipsters in the city's edgiest-nightlife district. Artists, journalists and upper middle-class bohemians have claimed Pinheiros, immediately southeast of Vila Madalena. Current rage: rooftop bars!

Coffee & Cafés

Coffee in São Paulo is generally excellent by Brazilian standards, thanks largely to the city’s Italian heritage. Santo Grão, Coffee Lab and Futuro Refeitório serve some of Brazil’s best beans – mountain-grown arabicas, mostly from Minas Gerais.

Clubbing

Partying in Sampa isn't cheap: clubbing prices here rival those of New York or Moscow. Nightclubs don’t open until midnight, don’t really get going until after 1am, and keep pumping until 5am or later. Then there are the after-hours places. The hottest districts are Vila Olímpia (flashy, expensive, electronica) and Barra Funda/Baixo Augusta (rock, alternative, down-to-earth). Some clubs offer a choice between a cover charge or a pricier consumação option, recoupable in drinks. Most clubs offer a discount for emailing or calling ahead to be on the list. Keep the card they give you on the way in – bartenders record your drinks on it, then you pay on the way out.

Nightlife Listings

Check out the Portuguese-language Guia da Folha, which has a website (http://guia.folha.uol.com.br) as well as a supplement in the Friday edition of Folha de São Paulo newspaper.