It’s brash, buzzing and filled with beautiful people. Ian McCurrach catches the vibe of Brazil’s hottest city

The scene

Some would argue that Sao Paulo is as famous for its ugliness as Rio is for its beauty. But that's not true.

The business centre of Brazil or the 'Brazilian Locomotive' as it's affectionately called, is the hub that drives the national economy. As a result, there is money to burn in this city and an exploding nightlife scene that is far hotter than Rio. Sao Paulo's bars, restaurants and hotels are infinitely plusher. In many ways this city, with its soaring skyscrapers and heady immigrant mix, is South America's answer to New York.

The clubs and bars are crammed with locals so beautiful that in any other country they'd be confined to the catwalk. What is refreshing is that they are also some of the friendliest people on the planet and their spirit is intoxicatingly infectious; no sooner do they arrive at one party and they are already asking 'where's the next?'

This is the world's second largest city so the distances involved can be vast. However the only two neighbourhoods that most business visitors tend to visit are the commercial district of Itaim Bibi and the neighbouring large area of Jardins. But don't let that put you off extending a business trip to taste the heady delights of the city after dark. Nightlife takes off after midnight and let's just say that breakfast is often available in most of the trendiest clubs.


Relax after work at the long bar at Apollinari at Rua Oscar Freire Jardim Paulista 1206 (00 55 11 3061 9965), which continues to attract the A-list. Fidel at Rua Girassol 398 (00 55 11 212 4225), with its black-and-white photos of Cuba's revolution serves killer Mojitos and Daquiris and plays a cool collection of Brazilian pop. Skye Bar at Avenida Brigadadeiro Luis Antonio 4700 (00 55 11 3055 4702; pays no homage to the Mondrian's namesake bar in LA; it is named after the lead singer of the owner's favourite band. However the sensational skyline view over the city is jaw-dropping.


Restaurante Fasano at Rua Vittorio Fasano 88 (00 55 11 3062 4000; in the eponymous hotel is a temple to tasty contemporary Italian treats. This is one of the city's finest restaurants so booking in advance is highly recommended. For traditional Brazilian cuisine with a French twist try D.O.M. at Rua Barão de Capanema 549 (00 55 11 3088 0761; Diners are a mix of those on business, the rich and the famous (the celebrity TV chef and owner is Alex Atala). Kosushi at Rua Viradouro 139 (00 55 11 3167 7272) is the city's sceniest Japanese eaterie. This is a dreamy melt-in-the-mouth sashimi experience.


For the home of the Sao Paulo City Ballet and the venue for most classical music concerts visit Theatro Municipal (00 55 11 3222 8698). Teatro Abril (00 55 11 3105 2665) showcases mainstream international touring productions such as Mamma Mia.


Leading the way in clubbing chic, Lov.e Club at Rua Pequetita 189 (00 55 11 3044 1613; is a swishy affair that attracts some of the coolest crowds in town. Disco at Rua Atilio Innocenti 160 (00 55 11 3078 0404; plays only the best new beats and turn even the most dance-challenged into seriously beautiful groovers.