Bars, some with live music and most with a predominantly young and arty clientele, are spread out along, and just off, Avenida Osvaldo Aranha, alongside the Parque Farroupilha and near the Federal University. Favourites change constantly, but the Ocidente, on Avenida Osvaldo Aranha itself, is usually lively and good for dancing as well. Also try the upscale suburb of Moinhos de Vento, especially along Rua Padre Chagas and Rua Fernando Gomes, near the Moinhos de Vento shopping mall. On Rua Fernando Gomes, there’s excellent beer at Dado Pub and good music at the Jazz Café, though things don’t get going until around 11pm.
Porto Alegre boasts a good popular music scene and a considerable theatrical tradition. Foreign performers of all kinds usually include Porto Alegre on any Brazilian or wider South American tour. The Sala Jazz Tom Jobim at Rua Santo Antônio 421 (t 51/3225-1229) features the city’s best jazz, and there are live afternoon sessions at the Café Concerto within the Casa de Cultura. These days the place to go dancing is the huge Dado Bier complex in the eastern suburb of Chácara das Pedras (take a taxi). Inauspiciously located in the Bourbon Country shopping mall, the club features top bands from all over Rio Grande do Sul.
There’s a good art-house cinema in the Casa de Cultura, and three more screens at Espaço Unibanco, Rua dos Andradas 736 (t 51/3221-7147), also showing art-house films. The Centro Cultural Usina do Gasômetro, a converted 1920s power station on the banks of the river just west of the centre is well worth a visit; there’s always something going on in its cinema, theatre and galleries, and it also has a café and a good bookshop. Finally, throughout the year, Porto Alegre’s numerous Centros de Tradição Gaúcha organize traditional meals, and also music and dance performances that are hugely popular with locals; for full details, contact the Movimento Tradicionalisto Gaúcho, Rua Guilherme Schell 60 (t 51/3223-5194, w www.mtg.org.br).