A good happy hour involves good drinks, good appetizers, good prices and good ambiance, as well as good company. I love happy hours; it’s informal, fun, and I like the fact that it happens between late afternoon and the beginning of the night (usually). That’s perfect because you start drinking early, stop early and go to bed in a reasonable time to wake up in perfect conditions on the next morning. In São Paulo, the happy hours usually happen during the weekdays, and it is not common to have other beverages but beer on the special menu (too bad!). São Paulo is a big city and full of options; take a look at my selection; I listed some of my favorite spots to go during happy hour time. Cheers!
Good cost-benefit (especially for women), nice atmosphere and lively music. Grácia Bar has a great happy hour on Wednesdays, open bar of tap beer (Brahma) from 6 pm to 10 pm; it costs R$24,90 for women and R$44,90 for men. If you count how many beers you’d drink out of happy hour, considering the regular price, which is around R$7 for a Brahma draft, you realize that the cost-benefit is worth it. Brahma is a Brazilian beer, it’s pretty common in the country, you’ll find it anywhere.
When you arrive at the bar, let them know that you are there for the happy hour special (you’ll receive a wristband). Then forget about the tab and drink as much as you want listening to good music (you’ll feel like dancing if you like pop/house/electro music). The public that attends, in general, is in the range of 25-35 years old, I think these people work in the neighborhood (read: men in suits). It’s worth to get there early to enjoy the happy hour time, the later you get the harder will be to find a good table. After 10 pm the place starts to get a little empty, the focus of the Wednesdays is the happy hour, so the peak is actual during that time.
When is the happy hour? On Wednesdays from 6 pm to 10 pm
Where? Rua Coropé 87, Pinheiros – São Paulo, Brazil | Official Website
I like O’Malley’s happy hour because they offer a free buffet, and I think that’s nice (very Milanese). The buffet is simple but enough to satisfy the hunger. There are exactly three bowls of food, one of them with sliced bread, another with sliced meat (this bowl is always a surprise, it can be any anything, from sausage to pulled pork) and for last, a bowl with a kind of mayonnaise/pate. The small buffet makes all the difference for me because I enjoy eating while drinking, and the fact that they offer the food for free to the customers is cool. Don’t think that because the buffet is simple, the people don’t eat too much; the staff refills the bowls all the time since everybody attacks the food.
It’s an Irish pub, so the ambiance is pretty much like any other pub you have seen before, but the house is pretty big, two floors, and several rooms. About the drinks, the pint of Heineken (500 ml) is about R$11, and after the happy hour time, the price doesn’t raise too much. The happy hour happens from Monday to Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm (and the buffet from 6 pm to 8 pm), I’ve been there many times in different days, the most crowded days are Thursday and Friday. There is no music during happy hour time; the bands begin to play later (so they start to charge the entrance after 10 pm). The sound of O’Malley’s is the noise of the loud conversations between friends.
Check it out: It’s good to remember the number of your control card before giving it to the bartender, if there are a lot of people ordering at the same time, the bartender can get confused and mix the cards. You don’t want to pay for other people’s stuff, right? It almost happened to me; I’m glad I knew all that I’ve ordered by heart.
When is the happy hour? Monday to Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm, free buffet from 6 pm to 8 pm
Where? Alameda Itú 1529, Jardim Paulista – São Paulo, Brazil | Official Website
Jet Lag Pub
Jet Lag Pub is a unique bar with an aviation theme, everything in there refers to the subject, from the counter that has an aircraft wing format (by the way, it is the wing of a real plane) to how the crew dresses (like flight attendants). During the happy hour, from Wednesday to Friday from 6 pm to 9 pm, the special is 2 for 1 tap beer (Heineken). It costs around R$10, and it comes two mugs for that price, you have to get them at the same time. They also have 2 for 1 Classic Drinks (not all of them, only the ones made with National Vodka). I think it’s nice that they give you the option to drink promotions cocktails and not only beer, which is so hard to find in São Paulo.
The service is fast and during the happy hour the place is never too packed, there’s a lively ambient music that gets louder later. If you leave until 9 pm, you don’t pay the entrance, if you plan to stay late it’s worth to put your name on the guest list on the official website, you’ll pay a reduced entrance. If you order a beer in the last minutes to enjoy the very end of the happy hour and can’t get out before 9 pm, you just have to pay your control card before and then you can finish your drink without worrying about the time. Jet Lag Pub and O’Malley’s are very close, so how about start drinking at O’Malley’s (until 8 pm) and finish at Jet Lag (until 9 pm)? I guarantee it’s going to be fun.
When is the happy hour? Wednesday to Friday from 6 pm to 9 pm
Where? Rua da Consolação 3032, Jardim Paulista – São Paulo, Brazil | Official Website
Z-Bra is a pop-up bar/lounge in the back of the famous Cartel 011. The atmosphere is incredible, wood style, the glass ceiling and a green area in the back (you’ll pass right through it if you go to the restroom). The bar open from Thursday to Saturday only, in the other days of the week, the place is not a bar, it’s an area for private events. Well, to get into the bar you have to pay R$20, but you can consume this value at the bar, so you don’t lose any money, which is great. The happy hour happens from Thursday to Friday from 6 pm to 8:30 pm, and it’s double beer style (Heineken). On Saturdays, they offer a welcome drink for free, which is nice too, but it’s not a real happy hour.
Check it out: If it’s close to the end of the happy hour, and you still have money to spend (from that R$20 that you paid for the entrance) you can order all the beers at once while the promotion is still happening. Then the bartender put everything in a bucket with ice, this way you can keep drinking the happy hour beer after 8:30 pm without spending more because of that.
I like the ambiance of this spot, it’s intimist and contemporary, the vibe is awesome, just like the music, the public is young and kind of hipster, and the service is really good. You better get there early because the place is not very big, and at the end of the happy hour (around 8:30 pm) is always crowded. What I realized while there, is that not everybody goes because of the happy hour but to enjoy the evening. My advice is to go for the happy hour and stay there for the DJ; you’ll see that the music will get louder later, and the house more crowded. So don’t go too late, even because they close early (1 am). The bar has a cocktail menu as well but, unfortunately, it’s not part of the happy hour.
When is the happy hour? Thursdays to Friday from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Where? Rua Artur Azevedo, 517, Pinheiros – São Paulo, Brazil | Official Website
Be aware that prices change, the values presented here are from April of 2016