It has been called Rio’s Malecón, but that does not do justice to the sea wall on the Urca peninsula, where crowds gather outside Bar Urca (which does great salgadinhos, or snacks) every Friday night to watch the sun go down behind Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado, then drink and talk into the early hours. The vibe here is extremely relaxed. This is partly thanks to Urca, which feels more a 19th-century fishing village than a district in one of the world’s biggest cities.
There is also an unusually low threat of crime because the peninsula is controlled by a military base. For a variation on the same theme, hike 15 minutes up the Morro do Urca to one of the bars serving caipirinhas on the ropeway route up to the Sugarloaf. Other decent drinking holes in Rio include Bar do Gomez in Santa Teresa, Adega Perola in Copacabana and Bar do Zé in Catete.