Bar Secreto Incognito all-night indulgence

Blessed with a talent for haute nightlife espionage, Bar Secreto is a dab hand at keeping itself undercover and exclusive. That name is designed to throw people off for a start. This ain’t a bar, it’s very much a club, and a damn swanky one at that. And Secreto stays that way thanks to the mysteriously named ‘Hostess’, who presides over the entrance with a searchlight gaze and a watertight guest list.

Once you’ve managed to negotiate your way past her (whether it be by charm, privilege or secret password), you’ll be welcomed into a candle-lit cavern of a room stylishly—and opulently—furnished with cocoa-dark leather couches, paintings, chandeliers and a ‘casually’ placed piano. A soundtrack that ranges from rock to electro, meanwhile, drifts out of the incognito speaker system for fashionable and famous feet to move to. Just take care not to tread on any of those trendy toes while you’re two-steppin’ or you could find yourself back outside on the kerb.

Cartel 011 Off the bandwagon, onto the cart(el)

Don’t try to pigeonhole this place. Part art gallery, part design store, part restaurant, part co-working space, we could go on…but basically it’s exploding with ideas and energy. From product launches to music sessions, there’s always something going on at Cartel 011. Founded in 2009 with the intention of transforming the urban environment, it’s a case of so far, so bloody brilliant.

Z Carniceria Now that's a hook featured

And now, a bit of folklore to accompany your drink. Locals will impart stories about how the owner of this once-meatpacking shop walled the place up after hearing cows mooing. The space was only accidentally rediscovered after workers knocked down a wall a few decades later.

It sounds a bit morbid, but Z Carniceria takes advantage of its bloody history by stringing hooks and shaking out meat-themed drinks like the Mad Butcher to an amused clientele. It’s now a ‘50s rockabilly bar cast under serious red lights. The carnivorous carnival is all tongue-in-cheek though: the biggest surprise here is the menu’s very tasty vegetarian fare.

Edifício Copan Making waves featured

Oscar Niemeyer, the godfather of modern architecture in Brazil, must have been dreaming of the ocean while he drew Edifício Copan’s plans. Forty storeys high and wide but thin at the sides, the undulating rhythm of this skyscraper’s horizontal lines turn it into an optical spectacle.

Planned in 1951 at the booming city center, it was an experiment in living: one of the first urban complexes to pack everything into one building—shops, restaurants, a church, a hotel and so on. Now the hip young urbanites have moved on, leaving this impressive relic behind in a neighborhood where many can’t even find a bed to sleep on.

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