Rio de Janeiro is world famous for it's carnival and like the carnival the night scene here revolves around established street parties, the most famous being Lapa. All the districts of the south zone have clusters of bars and discos and we're going to talk you through each of them in turn. Please click the button to tell other sites about this page ! Remember you'll need I.D. to get into nightclubs in Rio de Janeiro. 

Mug Bug Bar, Copacabana Rio.


Copacabana is the most famous district in all of Brazil and the nightlife here on the main sea front strip is also very  disappointing in that it only has hooker bars and the infamous Help disco. If you go back a block or two from the beach you'll start finding more interesting places like the Mud  Bug on Rua Paula Frietas, Fosfobox Nightclub at143 Rua Siqueira Campos and the Eclipse Bar at 1309 N.S. Copacabana which is a 24 hour bar restaurant, very useful for when everywhere else is closed and you have a few hours left to kill before watching the sunrise ! At 102 Avenida Raul Pompéia is Le Boy, Rio's most popular Gay club. Almost next door at # 94 is Bunker a 3 dance floor rock / alternative venue.


Inside the Emporio Ipanema.

Girl From Ipanema Bar Restaurant.

Bom Bar Leblon.



For it's size and what's available Ipanema has more going on than anywhere in Rio with the exception of Lapa. Praça General Osório has bars and restaurants along 3 of it's 4 sides and it's easy to get to being on the Metro and a bus terminus. We like the long established Boteco  Belmonte and it's good value and a good time. You'll find Shaningans and The Irish Pub here too, though we've always questioned the logic of flying thousands of miles to go to an Irish bar, but they are good places to hook up with other first time tourist and locals who want to meet foreigners. Two blocks from the sea front on Rua Maria Qinteiria you'll find Emporio, the only rock bar in Rio's south zone. It's very popular and you can always find legs and heads here at the lowest point of the low season. The beach side "barraca" opposite Rua Maria Qinteiria is open 24 hours.

On the same block as Rua Maria Qinteiria you'll find Praça Nossa Senhora de Paz. The street Barão de Torre at the back of the square has all bars, nightclubs and bar restaurants. You'll find two of Rio's most up market nightclubs here: Krystal and Baronetti. Pack your credit card you'll need it !

Rua Joana Angélica cuts across the other side of Praça Nossa Senhora de Paz and if you walk down here to the Lagoa front on the left hand side you'll find the split level disco / bar restaurant Katmandu. Again it's an up market venue but you can arrive early on to eat and stay late dancing.

Between Praça General Osório and Praça Nossa Senhora de Paz is Rua Farme de Amoedo which has lots or bars, restaurants and botecos including Sincato do Chopp (the beer syndicate), Cafeina and Moio, Rio's premiere sea food restaurant. Rua Farme de Amoedo is also the centre of Rio's gay scene (outside of carnival it's not as obvious) but being Rio anything goes, so don't feel you have to be gay to join in ! 

Also between the Praças General Osório and Nossa Senhora de Paz on the corner of Prudente and Vicinius Morais you'll find the world famous Girl From Ipanema bar where Tom Jobim wrote the song "The Girl From Ipanema". It's now a chain of bar restaurants and you can tour Rio by going to the Girl From Ipanema, Gavea and Tijucu.

At the end of Ipanema is Rua Paul Redfern. There's a real diversity here in one block as you have the Lord Jim English pub, Ten Kai Japanese restaurant, The Sushi Bar, Breeze bar and the Code Bar, which is attached to a hostel. If you're staying here you've got a great location !

Bohemia Beer. 

Moio Restaurant Ipanema.

Sindicato do Chopp.




The next district along the beach from Ipanema is Leblon. It's a similar scene to Ipanema but not as busy. On Avenida General San Martin you'll find Gaupa Loco, a popular bar restaurant nightclub with a Mexican theme and the Bom Bar. On the corner of San Martin and Rua Rita Ludolf is Melt. All along Avenida General San Martin there are top end restaurants.

On Avenida Alfrânio de Melo Franco is Scala, the biggest nightclub in Leblon. On Rua Adalberto Ferriera you'll find Plataforma which has a daily samba / carnival show that is popular with first time tourists. On the corner with Conde de Bernadotte you'll find Academia da Cachaça which is a must to sample Brazil's national drink.

 Guapo Loco Leblon.

BG Bar. 


Blending seamlessly into Leblon is Gavea. There's a very popular student street party here in Praça Santos Dumont. The busiest night is on a Monday when all the students turn up but you'll find the Girl From Gavea, B.G. Bar and Hipodromo nightclub here so there's normally plenty going on ! Walk along Rua Marquês de São Vincente from Praça Santos Dumont you'll find the trendy Boteco Espelunca and if you carry onto the Planetarium they often have live music there and next door to the Planetarium (setback a bit from the road) is Zero Zero another trendy student nightclub that has a great vodka bar.

Vodka Bar Zero Zero. 




Once your get into Barra you're into the residential outer suburbs of Rio and Barra is very much a 1st world environment. It's mostly condos here and Barra doesn't have the history or the street scene you find in the other South Zone districts. If you want the half hour / 40 minute journey here there are some good bars and clubs. On Avineda das Américas you have the Barra branches of Shenanigans and Bom Bar. Our pick would be Nuth at 999 Armando Lombardi. It's a posh club (champagne menus and koi carp in ponds !) but rammed of full of VERY beautiful people. 


It's not home time until sunrise ! 


Wedged between Copacabana and Ipanema is the small district Arpoador. Famous for it's surfing beach and being the Brazilian home of Whilst there are no bars or clubs here you will find Milano Doc Pizzaria which is a hang out of Rio's celebrity clique. Arpoador is a great place to end the night by watching the sunrise from Arpoador rocks.

 Milano Doc Pizzaria.

 Lapa Bateria.


Lapa is the biggest night spot in the whole of Rio. Situated next to Lapa Arches the "lap" of Lapa is a whole city block with bars and clubs that offer everything from Samba bands to sleazy funk parties. The venues turn over rapidly with bars closing and clubs opening almost every month. The busiest night of the week is Friday and the street party is an event to behold in it's own right, spilling out over Praça Cardeal Câmara and through the arches all the way down Mem da Sá to Praça Cruz Vermelha, where on the largest nights during carnival there's an overflow party ! 

Lapa is a lot more than the block enclosed by the arches, Praça Cardeal Câmara and Selaron's staircase. Through the arches you'll find Fundação Progresso, Rio's largest dance club,  and the indoor dome of Circo Voador. The road forks into Mem da Sá and Rua Riachuelo and there are more bars, restaurants here and on the side streets that intersect them. You'll find Teatro Odisséia at 66 Mem da Sá, turn right onto Rua do Lavrádio and two blocks down on the left you'll find Rio's most written about nightclub: Rio Scenarium. At 289 Avenida Gomes Freire you'll discover Memórias do Rio. Which is a very pleasant slow Samba club which has live music and is a great dance venue popular with the older crowd.


Along the streets running out of Lapa down towards Catete metrostop you'll find various bar restaurants on Rua da Lapa, Rua da Gloria and Rua da Catete. It's more of an eating out scene than street party but nice if you want a relaxing night out that's also going to be wallet friendly. 



 Memorias Rio.

 Roof Top Bar.

Santa Teresa 

Santa Teresa is the district on the hillside overlooking Lapa where the tram runs through. The cobbled streets twist and turn and it's easy to get lost so don't stray from the tram track ! The views of Rio are fantastic day or night and there are some great bars and restaurants dotted along the road side until you get to Largo do Guimarães where the tram track splits. Take the right hand fork and you'll find the Roof Top Bar, which is one of the most quintessential Brazilian bars you will find anywhere. Carry on along the tram track to "Esquina da Santa Teresa" and you'll find Armazém Thiago / Bar do Gomez which was founded in 1919 and one of the oldest bars in Rio. They also serve 60 different cachaças so make sure  you book a taxi home !

 Bar do Gomez.



Not surprisingly the centro night scene is more about after work drinks, but should you want to party with the suits check out Rua Premeiro de Março that runs parallel on the right hand side to Avenida Rio Branco. There's a very large Bank of Brasil Cultural centre on Premeiro de Março that has lots of free events. One centro destination to go day or night is the highly acclaimed Cafeteria Colombo on Rua Gonçalves Dias. Hang a left onto Rua 7 de Septembro from Rio Branco and you'll see Cafeteria Colombo as you turn right into Rua Gonçalves Dias.

Jirau,  Premeiro de Março Centro. 

Buxixo Choperia. 

Buxixo Choperia.

North Zone, Zona Norte

The generic tourist guides to Rio never cover the North Zone. Perhaps they have a good reason to ignore 3/4's of the city but thankfully is written by people with first hand experience ! The best thing about the North Zone is the people. In many ways it's a lot more like the rest of Brazil than the very superficial South Zone. One of our favourite North Zone destinations is the Buxixo at Praça Varnhargen. The scene here is one of a street party with bar and bar restaurants facing the square. Above the Buxixo is a nightclub and you are also only a short ride from Mangueira's Samba School. Bus 433 goes right through Praça Varnhargen and 464 to the Maracaná goes close by. Get of at the Maracaná stadium and then walk 700 m along Avenida Maracaná.

Another favourite North Zone destination is Sindiacato do Chopp Tijuca. If you like the one in Ipanema definitely go here as it's rated as the best one in Rio. Getting there is easy on the metro. Go to the Alfonso Pena stop and as you exit turn left into Rua Alfonso Pena and you'll find Sindiacato do Chopp Tijuca half way up the street on the right.

If you want to experience some Brazilian Culture from the North East of Brazil then on a Saturday night you should go to the São Luis Gonzaga Centro Nodestino exhibition centre in São Cristovão. It's an amazing place with live acts, restaurants and bars all themed around the North East of Brazil. You can sample the food the music and the dancing that makes the North East the destination of choice for most Brazilians. Get there on the 474 bus that goes to Jacaré.        

For those who want to go so far off the beaten track they'll be the only tourists to visit that year you should go to Chopinho da Olaria at 350 Rua Delfim Carlos in Olaria. The buses from Copa' that run to Penha and Olaria pass close by but ask the driver where you need to get off. The Chopinho da Olaria is a popular local venue serving a wide selection of beers and food. So few foreigners go here (as it's almost an hours bus ride) you'll be treated like celebrities ! It's also walking distance to Penha Church.

Two other street parties to check out in the summer season are at Praça Nações (the express bus to Penha goes through there) and at Praça Meier (take the bus that terminates at Meier). They are only busy at the weekends though. 

Brazilian Girls North Zone Rio de Janeiro. 

 Brazilian Girls North Zone Rio de Janeiro.

 Praça_Nações - it's quiet in the week !



24 Hour Rio

If you find yourself at a lose end at 4AM on a Thursday morning there are a couple of destinations you can try. The Eclipse Bar at 1309 N.S. Copacabana serves beers and food all day and all night. It's an interesting at that time of the morning and is great for people watching. At 1292 Avenida Ataulfo da Paiva in Leblon (the main street through the district) you'll find the 24 hour Book shop and cafeteria "Letras Expressões". It's a good place to chill out after a heavy night. During the peak season several of the beach side "barracas" stay open 24 hours, but the one open all year is opposite Rua Maria Qinteiria in Ipanema. Rio is dotted with 24 hour pharmacies so you're normally only a couple of  blocks from emergency aspirin or condoms ! There are also two 24 hour super markets. Zona Sul in Praça General Osório in Ipanema and Pão de Açúcar at 493 Avenida N.S. Copacabana in Copacabana.

 Letras Expressões Leblon.

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