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a city by city guide to the best indie clubs, bars, record shops and local bands

São Paulo, Brazil

By Fernando Brito

Since the end of the 50's, when Brasilia became Brazil's capital, São Paulo replaced Rio de Janeiro as the cultural capital of the country. Bands, journalists, authors, everybody comes to São Paulo to see and to be seen. They say São Paulo is a city that can never stop, but that's not the whole truth. It's the people of São Paulo that don't want to stop. That's why this city has so many clubs, bars, restaurants, theatres and thousands of other attractions open 24 hours. There must be something in the water. Or it's the polluted air... Who knows? The fact is that São Paulo gives you an unquenchable thirst for pleasure. And that's why there's always something to do and somewhere to go, especially at night. São Paulo is an ugly city, be aware. But for those who LIVE this city, ugliness is actually part of its beauty. The crowded streets, the prostitutes and brothels and the decadent aspect of its streets and buildings in downtown - this and much more can make this city even more delightful if you're not afraid of taking a walk on the wild side.


Clubs

Funhouse
507 Bela Cintra st., Consolação. Admission: from R$6 on Wednesdays to R$11/R$7 on Saturdays.
Except on Mondays and Tuesdays, every night there's a party in this place that is almost like a real house. If it had a kitchen, one could live there quite happily! On weekends they put on new bands from every corners of Brazil and some of them are pretty good. But if you're not interested in dancing you can go upstairs to the lounge where pretty people will talk to you like old friends. And if you're lucky (or good looking) some of them might even kiss you! Parties begin around 11pm on weekends and 8pm on weekdays and go until 6am, sometimes a bit more. Funhouse is inthe bohemian neighborhood of Consolação, in the central area of the city. If you're coming by subway get off at Consolação station (line 2/Green) at Paulista ave. It's just four blocks' walk.
(www.funhouse.com.br)

Milo Garage
203 Minas Gerais st., Consolação. Admission: from R$5 to R$7. 11pm-6am.
If you're not happy with the Funhouse because it lacks a garage, go to the Milo Garage, not far from there. As the name says, it's a small place that really looks like a garage. During the day this place is a record shop, but if you like the records they sell you can stop by at night, from Wednesdays to Sundays, and dance to the songs that you've bought. Drink prices are another attraction, apart from the cool people. But think twice if you're arriving too late at night, unless you don't mind waiting outside for several minutes. There's a limit of people inside the place to assure that everyone can dance properly.
(www.milogarage.com)

On The Rocks party at D-Edge
170 Alameda Olga, Barra Funda. Admission: R$15 on Mondays, from R$10 on Wednesdays to R$30 on Saturday.
D-Edge is a cool eletronica club that opens every night. On Mondays a bald guy named João Gordo (Fat John), a former punk star in Brazil and recently an MTV VJ, takes control of the pick ups and makes one of the best rock parties in São Paulo. The place is great and the people are the best. If you like some electronic sounds as well, stop by on Wednesday (or any other day, actually), they have great DJs playing breakbeats, industrial and funk carioca. You can put your name on the guest list, just call them (if you speak Portuguese) or do it online on their website (before 6pm), and you'll get a good price reduction!
(www.d-edge.com.br)

Atari
(www.atariclub.com)

Outs
(www.outsx.com.br)

DJ Club
(www.projetosound.com.br)

Age limit is 18 anywhere you go in Brazil.


Venues

 

2x1 at Blen Blen Club
520 Ignacio Pereira do Rocha st., Pinheiros.
There's a very good project going on in São Paulo that takes place every Sunday. It's the 2x1. Two indie bands in one afternoon. Great bands from all over the country come and show their best.
(www.blenblen.com.br)


Sesc-Pompeia
93 Clelia st., Barra Funda.
The classic indie venue in São Paulo is Sesc-Pompeia. There you will find good bands playing almost every week, and every so often great international attractions. Information about concerts can be found in Portuguese and English at their website
(www.sescsp.com.br)


Bars
 

Brazilians love to spend time outdoors. Given the average temperature of this country, this isn't hard to achieve. That's why the best Brazilian bars usually have tables on the sidewalk. The cool people from São Paulo always hang around Augusta St. There you will find BH and Charme, each at one corner of the same block, just a few steps from the Paulista Ave. These two places aren't very comfortable and their decorations are precarious, but who cares about that when you're in good company? There are good options if you want to spend some time indoors, such as...

Porcão
67 Souza Lima St, Barra Funda
Its real name is Casa Belfiori, but everyone knows it as Porcão (the big pig). It's a small place hidden in a dark corner of an abandoned downtown area. There's a reason for such discretion. This bar is authentically underground, it wasn't meant to be widely known, instead it used to be a secret known by just a few friends. Luckily their secret didn't last long. The best in this place is the people, but decoration (based on old Brazilian groceries stores known as mercearias) and drinks are other great attractions.

Exquisito
532 Bela Cintra St, Consolação
This is a South American bar. Remember, South American, not Latin American. There's no salsa, no mambo, no mariachis. At Exquisito you will find great regional drinks as well as beer and food from almost every country in South America. It's a nice place to start the night before heading to a club.


Record Shops


The Galeria Presidente and the Galeria do Rock, set almost side-by-side in downtown area, are two mini malls where all alternative tribes meet. In the first one you will find Velvet, a little shop full of local indie bands records plus some obscure stuff from all over the world. At the same place you will also find London Calling, a good place to find or order imported records. At the Galeria do Rock there are tens of record shops that sell from hip-hop to heavy-metal, and a couple of shops specializing in indie rock. Galeria do Rock is at the 62, 24 de Maio St and Galeria Presidente is just a few steps ahead at the 116, 24 de Maio St


Local Bands

 

In the past São Paulo was home of great Brazilian bands, like Mutantes or Ira!. Lately the indie rock scene has been growing once more and new bands pop up every day. Quality, however, is something that just a few of them have. The recent highlights are:

Cansei de Ser Sexy
An electro-punk girls group that started as a joke but became the new darlings of critics.
(www.tramavirtual.com.br/cansei)

Ludov
An extremely professional and competent group with catchy pop songs and a very good female singer.
(www.ludov.com.br/web)

If you'd like to recommend a club, bar, record shop, band or any indie delight for inclusion in the Indie Travel Guide, please email us. If we've included a link to your band/shop etc, it would be lovely if you could link back to us. Thank you!


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