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.
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,
and the Code Bar, which is attached to a hostel. If you're staying
here you've got a great location !
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.
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.
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.
Copacabana and Ipanema is the small district Arpoador. Famous for it's
surfing beach and being the Brazilian home of holidayinbrazil.com
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.
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
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.
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 !
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.
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 holidayinbrazil.com
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
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
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.
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
for general bar and club listings.