Britan Bar (better known as Bar do Zé) is an unassuming little place tucked away on a side street in Catete, a slighly dilapidated neighbourhood situated between equally unglamorous neighbourhoods of Flamengo and Glória. This is not the kind of place you’re likely to stumble upon! But if you are looking for a bar with personality and heart then this place is worth tracking down.
Zé, who appears to run this place single-handedly, isn’t much into smiling or joking – but he’s friendly enough in a grumpy-old-man kind of way and his bar draws a friendly crowd of locals. This is not the place to come if you want to drink wine or fancy cocktails – the bar is kind of shabby and this is a place to hang out, chat with friends, drink some cold beer and sip cachaça. The walls of the bar are covered in bottles of Brazil’s most famous spirit and after a few you may feel the need for some sustenance. Zé’s menu is not extensive – he may cook you up some pastel or bolinhos de aipim – whatever you get will be tasty and delicious. When it gets busy the small bar fills up and people end up sitting across the road on the pavement. If that sounds like your kind of thing, then you should take a look.
Pros: More heart and personality than all the air-conditioned bars in Ipanema and Leblon combined.
Cons: This is a primarily a bar that serves a few snacks. It’s not a restaurant so don’t expect a menu (or a table!).
Address: Rua Barão de Guaratiba, 49 – Catete
Telephone: +55 (21) 2558-6583