My favourite nightlife spot turned out to be a place called Empório! It is another busy, small and FULL place that has the cheapest drinks (at least that we found) in Ipanema... not to mention some of the STRONGEST drinks:)
There is a great mix of people (more locals here! plenty of tourist too and the people are not too young either!) inside the club and out. Everyone just socializes, has a good time and 'rocks' to the loud, crazy music. I believe this place of all is the MOST gauranteed fun! The music was different too... it was rock music all night!! Hard rock. The music just gets to you and even though that teeny weeny dancefloor is packed to the maximum, you can't help but wanna get out there, get all sweaty with everyone and jam too ;)
LOVED IT. The place just has a good vibe and I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Best, most down-to-earth nightlife in Ipanema in my opinion. Check it out.
Dress Code: Casual.
Great night spot. Mix of Brazilians and some tourists. Has a dj who plays (normally) very good music. Beers are cheap and most people are attractive. Get there early to get a table (early being around 9:30). If you have a group of two or more it's no biggie.
Dress Code: Casual cool. You never dress up in Rio unless you go to very specific dress up places. When in doubt, hot jeans, cool top, cool tennis. (that counts for this bar and all others)
My favorite night spot in Rio is the Emporio. It is a simple bar; $R2.40 draft beer, a dj, a small area for dancing, about 20 tables, kind of smells like a basement, and has basic food options. Located in Ipanema, it caters to the bohemian type of folk - very interesting crowd. Locals and Gringos (generally 20-35 years old) hang out and chat, drinking away the hours until 4am when it closes and the party moves to the beer and food serving barraca on the beach 2 blocks away. The appetizers are tasty, but it really is more of a place to have a few beers.
Dress Code: Very casual.