Armazém São Thiago, Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro
Tel: 55 21 2232 0822
Concierge.com's insider take:
This quaint drinking den, also known as the Bar do Gomes, has changed little since it opened in 1919. The faded sepia photos plastering the brick walls show the same dark-wood-and-marble counter, now stained with nearly a century's worth of nicotine, sweat, and condensation, and the same wooden shelves that stretch to the soaring ceiling, bending under the weight of a 100-variety cachaca collection. Regulars, many of them struggling artists with ateliers in the neighborhood, start to rock up in the late morning. There's a soulfulness as well as sadness to Santa Teresa's daytime drinkers: You're as likely to overhear a softly crooned samba or to spot a neat, bespectacled grandmother slowly sipping a chope in the mid-afternoon as the inevitable noisy male trio propping up the bar. By sundown, the decibel level rises appreciably, the steel fans start to whirr, and the industrial-size refrigerators—aggressively set at 25° F—have time enough only to get the beers "stupidly cold," not frozen, before they're whisked over to another thirsty customer. As the night progresses, the action spills outside into the steamy air, as passing friends mingle with customers, all struggling to protect their drinks from the rickety bonde tram that rattles noisily past, mere feet away from the bar and its steel shutters that never seem to close.