Lapa 40 Graus is a traditional samba house located right on samba’s birthplace, the Lapa neighborhood. Needless to say, it’s a must-try for everyone who wants to have a piece of the real samba experience. They have several dancefloors, with different bands playing, so even if you’re not into samba, you’ll definitely find something for you. I recommend it!
Clandestino Bar is this undeground club in Copacabana, right next to one of Rio’s most famous hostels, so there’s always a young crowd made of people from all around the world as well as Brazillians. It’s a great way of meeting new people. Since I went to Brazil all by myself, all my now close friends were also fellow travellers I met at Clandestino. They play different music every night (funk, soul, hip hop, pop, electro, etc.) so every night there’s a different crowd.
After days and days of clubbin’ with my friends in small, noisy and smoky (up to the point that it got me feeling – and smelling – like an ashtray at the end of the night) clubs, it was with great relief and joy that I stumbled upon Zero Zero, this sophisticated and trendy club in Gavea neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. They have this huge open-air lounge area with lots of couches and benches and there are candlelights all around, that add a sexy, romantic vibe to it. It’s great for those moments when you want to chill, take some time-out from partying and just want to chat and have a drink. The music is great too, and so is the crowd. Lots of good-looking people. I recommend it!
Avenida Padre Leonel Franca, 240 - Gávea
55 21 2540 8041
Some people are going to groan at the name, but bear with it. If you are young at heart and looking for a variety of fun things to do in Rio, you could do worse than pick up the "Rio for Partiers" guide. It's a little bit like this site - crammed full of tips, and just the thing to turn to if you are wondering "what to do next" in Rio.
It's not the "club 18-30"-ish guide that it seems from the title. I'd recommend at least having a look at it in a bookshop - many of the places in it were things which Cariocas recommended to me anyway.
www.rioforpartiers.com/ (I've got no affilition, in case you're wondering)
Someone recommended the street party in Lapa on a Friday night. I would agree with this as it's an amazing night out, but I would warn people to keep their wits about them. I've been twice now on separate trips a year apart and the second time (August 2005) it seemed a lot more crowded and definitely more shifty.
This maybe something to do with the fact that it's now in the trusty Lonely Planet as a 'Rio essential' so there are far more tourists now, which inevitably attracts more unsavory characters. I'm not saying this to be a travel snob - when we were there guns were fired at the top of the famous steps which resulted in a stampede and a nasty crush at the bottom. It's still a great night - just stay away from the top of the steps (the farther up you go the more shady it gets) and go in a big group if possible. Oh, and stay away from the brightly coloured shots in the plastic tubes - they're lethal and taste revolting - have a caipirinha!
Lapa - near Cinelandia metro.
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