We weren’t sure whether Skylab was even open when we visited. After taking the elevator up to the 28th floor, and finding no bar there, we realized that you have to transfer to another set of elevators to reach the roof. Now, I’m not sure if there were men manually operating the pulley system for this second set of elevators or what, but it took something like 10 minutes for it to arrive at our floor. Strange—it only spans four floors total, and the place seemed empty. When we finally arrived on the top floor, we realized it was pretty much empty. Creepy.
In a city where the nightlife doesn’t get cranking until around 11pm at the earliest, Skylab closes at midnight daily. We were one of about three couples having drinks in this room with decorations straight out of Bed Bath & Beyond (hey, I’m not knocking the store—but you call that bar decor?!). After checking out the aforementioned outdoor deck, we settled inside next to a side window. The views of Copacabana Beach were pretty sweet, I will say that.
The service was cordial and friendly. Our waiter didn’t speak much English, but he tried, and it’s not like we expected him to articulate the menu like a Brazilian Russell Baker. Cocktails will run 8 to 14 Reals, long drinks 10, and any one of a good selection of whiskies and bourbons between 9,50 and 15 Reals. There’s also a pretty decent menu of cognac and coffee. We didn’t order anything from the kitchen, since it was getting "late," but you can order food if you arrive early enough—check out the feijoada served up every Saturday.
After finishing up some strong caipirinhas, we were ready to jet and find somewhere slightly less medicated. First we had to deal with the elevators again, though—I think my beard grew back in while we waited.
So I guess the guidebooks were right—Skylab really is a memorable bar to visit . . . memorable in that we’ll remember never to go there again.
by Mr. Wonka
Brooklyn, New York
June 20, 2004
From journal Thumbs Up Rio!