A happening area of culture in Fortaleza, Dragao do Mar is also the city's best concentration of nightlife. Located just beyond Praia de Iracema, this is the type of area where you can show up around happy hour and have more than a dozen different opportunities for leisurely, open-air drinks, authentic live music or a loud, wild club experience.
Some of the most popular places include Donna Santa, a dance club staple in the gay community; Amici's, where you'll find samba and pizza held in high regard by a young and vibrant clientele both day and night; Armazem, which has a huge forro party on Wednesdays that is frequented by 'women of the night' (watch out); and O Chopp do Bixiga, an excellent nightly party in a renovated mansion whose claim to fame is their chope de vinho (wine from the tap).
Dragao do Mar is a practical choice for travelers; if you don't like one place, there are many more to choose from without a need to taxi through poor neighborhoods.
Note:There's also a good selection of restaurants in the area, including a good number that specialize in Brazilian dishes (Restaurante Dragão do Mar and Churrascaria Garota De Iracema come to mind).