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World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Brazil > Rio de Janeiro

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Rio de Janeiro Nightlife

Cariocas love to party. Whether it is a post-football beer at a beach kiosk, an evening's entertainment at a live music venue or a cocktail in a chic nightclub, an evening out in Rio is a special experience. Popular bars and clubs are plentiful in Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon and Barra, but downtown Lapa has some of the best live music venues. Club entry fees often include a drink consumption card, usually with a minimum purchase required. Keep hold of this card or face a steep charge.

Rio is also a highly cultured city. Its young, ethnically mixed population are a constantly creative cauldron, as shown in Cariocas’ music, dance and lifestyle, especially during carnival time. Favelas (shanty towns), generally risky places to visit unaccompanied, are often the source of new musical trends. Funk Carioca is an edgy bass heavy style of music that emerged from Rio’s shanty towns in the 1980s, and whose popularity has spread into the mainstream.

There are many performance venues in Rio, hosting an ever-changing series of events. Veja (http://vejario.abril.com.br) provides excellent online entertainment listings, in Portuguese only. The Rio Show supplement of Friday’s O Globo newspaper (www.globo.com) lists the week’s events. RioTur, the official tourist office, publishes the free seasonal Rio Guide in both English and Portuguese. It has comprehensive listings and is available in most hotels. Tickets are available from the venue box offices and, for some events, through Ticketmaster (tel: (11) 6846 6000; www.ticketmaster.com.br).

Bars in Rio de Janeiro

Bar Mineiro

This long-standing local Santa Teresa boteco (bar) also attracts a loyal following from across the city, with customers often overflowing onto the adjacent street. Bar Mineiro specialises in food from the state of Minas Gerais, and frequently wins awards for its cuisine, chilled beer and friendly atmosphere. Try the feijoada (black bean stew) which, like most of Bar Mineiro's dishes, is big enough for two.

Address: Santa Teresa, Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno 99, Rio de Janeiro,
Telephone: +55 21 2221-9227.
Website: http://bardomineiro.net

Jobi

One of Rio's most famous boteco (bars), Jobi has long been a favourite with 30-something Cariocas. It's known as a good refuge for insomniacs as the bar and restaurant sometimes stays open until 0600. Lively and reasonably priced, Jobi is perfect for a quick beer and a bite during the week and perfect for mixing with the Leblon crowd. Ask for a draft chopp (draft beer), which is renowned here for being served head-numbingly cold. Jobi really lights up at weekends and is well worth a visit.

Address: Leblon, Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva 1166, Rio de Janeiro,
Telephone: +55 21 2274 0547.

Clubs in Rio de Janeiro

Circo Voador

Right under Lapa's historic arches, Circo Voador is one of the city's finest and most adventurous live music venues. Top Brazilian acts as well as international bands perform inside the huge domed white marquee. The huge sunken dance floor is packed out with a young and lively following, with outside tables under the trees offering a respite from the crush. Its musical agenda is wide-ranging with everything from samba to hip-hop, house to funk. It also has a strong emphasis towards promoting rising young talent. During the day it hosts arts events, exhibitions and workshops, featuring poetry, sculpture, film and performance art.

Address: Lapa, Rua dos Arcos, Rio de Janeiro,
Telephone: +55 21 2533 0354.
Website: http://www.circovoador.com.br

Clube dos Democráticos (Democratic Club)

Rio is synonymous with sensuous samba and this club attracts young trendy adults. Every Wednesday night is Forró which includes various dance types and different musical genres.

Address: , R. Riachuelo, Rio de Janeiro, 20230-010
Telephone: +55 21 2252 4611

Fosfobox

This club is tiny in size but big in character. Set in the heart of Copacabana, it plays anything from glam rock, hip hop to EDM. It also features theatrical performances giving local artists a chance to present their numbers live.

Address: , Rua Siqueira Campos, 143 - Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro,
Telephone: +55 21 2548 7498
Website: http://www.fosfobox.com.br/

Rio Scenarium

In the heart of bohemian Lapa, Rio Scenarium is frequently voted the city’s best live music venue. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric samba club housed in a converted old depository. Vintage furniture and memorabilia fill its labyrinthine corridors with quirky oddities such as glass cabinets of medicine bottles, a vintage car, stuffed animals and kitsch ornaments. A central atrium spans all three floors so the audience can see the stage from all levels. As well as hosting some great live samba bands, it also has a restaurant and several bars. Not cheap, but a special club worth splashing out on for a special occasion.

Address: , R. do Lavradio, 20 Centro, Rio de Janeiro,
Telephone: +55 21 3147 9000
Website: http://www.rioscenarium.com.br

Teatro Odisseia

A focus of the late night Carioca scene, Teatro Odisseia is spread over two floors with competition dance floors and mezzanine level. The Lapa neighbourhood is famed for its live bars and Teatro Odisséia also supports this buzzing local community of performers, hosting its own programme of live bands, both of national and international pedigree.

Address: Lapa, Avenida Av Mem de Sá 66, Rio de Janeiro, 20230-152
Telephone: +55 21 2224 6367.

Live music in Rio de Janeiro

Citibank Hall

This giant modern arena in suburban Barra puts on live music events, with a capacity of more than 8,000 spectators. It hosts major national and international artistes, with recent acts including Avril Lavigne, Pet Shop Boys, and Hugh Laurie's Copperbottom Band as well as Brazilian superstars Djavan and Gilberto Gil. Citibank Hall is also one of the main venues for Rock in Rio, a major music festival that takes place every September.

Address: Barra da Tijuca, Avenida Ayrton Senna 3000, Rio de Janeiro,
Telephone: +55 22 99564 8623.

Espírito Santa

This exotic, laidback restaurant perched on a Santa Teresa hillside is filled with colourful artwork and offers amazing views of downtown Rio. It hosts live music at weekends and for special events. The bar whips up knockout cocktails, which are best quaffed at the tables on its outside terrace. Espirito Santa is an avid supporter of the annual Arte de Portas Abertas event in mid-August, when Santa Teresa's galleries and restaurants welcome visitors with special events and exhibitions.

Address: Santa Teresa, Rua Almirante Alexandrino 264, Rio de Janeiro,
Telephone: +55 21 2507 4840.
Website: http://www.espiritosanta.com.br

Classical music in Rio de Janeiro

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB)

This is one of the city's prime venues for innovative concerts, exhibitions, plays and films. Based in an 1880 fin-de-siecle building, the beautiful architecture and the rich cultural agenda have established CCBB as a key cultural name, not only in Rio but throughout Brazil. It has a diverse monthly programme, from modern art to banknote exhibitions. There's also a bookshop, café and restaurant. It is definitely worth a visit, even if only to enjoy its peace and quiet away from the downtown hubbub outside.

Address: Centro, Rua Primeiro de Março 66, Rio de Janeiro, 20010-000
Telephone: +55 21 3808 2020.
Website: http://culturabancodobrasil.com.br/portal/rio-de-janeiro

Theatro Municipal

The Theatro Municipal, in the heart of the downtown historic arts district, is one of the most beautiful and important theatres in Brazil. Founded in 1909, the building's most recent major refurbishment restored its original features, combining Belle Epoque with art nouveau, based on the Opéra Garnier in Paris. The theatre has its own orchestra, choir and ballet, and it stages both contemporary and classic productions. The Assyrio bar-restaurant in the basement is highly recommended for its sumptuously ornate décor of Assyrian statues, tiled walls, chintzy chandeliers and mosaic floor. Guided tours of the theatre run several times a week in English and Portuguese.

Address: Centro, Praça Marechal Floriano, Rio de Janeiro,
Telephone: +55 21 2332 9191.
Website: http://www.theatromunicipal.rj.gov.br

Dance in Rio de Janeiro

Theatres in Rio de Janeiro

Music and Dance in Rio de Janeiro

Casarão Ameno Resedá

This exciting new club, which opened in 2012, has already built up a fan base for its excellent live shows and relaxed ambience. Casarão Ameno Resedá is a beautifully refurbished 19th-century mansion in Catete, a lesser-known neighbourhood between downtown and Botafogo, which is popular with budget travellers. The club's widely varied programme includes jazz, gafieira-style samba, MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira), rock, theatre and poetry readings. Downstairs, it also has a branch of Santa Teresa's highly-rated Sobrenatural restaurant.

Address: Catete, Rua Bento Lisboa 4, Rio de Janeiro,
Telephone: +55 21 2556 2427.
Website: http://casaraoamenoreseda.com.br

Culture in Rio de Janeiro

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Rio Hostel

This hostel in an old colonial building in Santa Teresa has basic dorms as well as three- and four-bed rooms, which are ideal for families. With its hillside location, Rio Hostel offers great city views and it also has a tiny swimming pool. Facilities include laundry service, tour information, Wi-Fi connectivity and air conditioning in some rooms. The staff are friendly, some are multilingual, and they serve a decent buffet breakfast.

Copacabana Palace

This elegant establishment is almost as famous as its beachfront location. Since it was built in 1923, famous guests have included Robert De Niro, Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles and Princess Diana. The Copacabana Palace is one of the grandest classical buildings in Rio de Janeiro; its creamy pillared façade dominates Avenida Atlântica, and is protected by a preservation order. The plush interior is even more impressive with marble floors, chandeliers, grand ballroom and elegantly decorated rooms. Facilities include a rooftop tennis court, a majestic swimming pool, a well-equipped fitness suite and a business centre. The two restaurants, Cipriani and Pergula, offer fine dining.

Hotel Mama Ruisa

This tasteful boutique hotel lies in the heart of Santa Teresa in a converted late 19th-century mansion. Laidback French proprietor Jean Michel Ruiz has had each of the seven rooms individually decorated in tribute to icons of stage and screen, including Josephine Baker, Marlene Dietrich, Carmen Miranda and Maria Callas. The spacious lounge is filled with modern designer furniture and its walls are hung with original works of art and ethnic artefacts. The private walled garden has a small pool, with a terrace and veranda where meals and cocktails are served.

Rio Design Hotel

Rio de Janeiro's first design hotel is a modern establishment one block from Copacabana Beach. Its 66 rooms, suites and apartments have been individually styled by top Brazilian artists, giving the hotel an exclusive and contemporary feel. This Rio hotel is a popular choice with visitors who are looking for something a bit chic but not prohibitively expensive. All rooms are comfortable, with flat-screen TVs and broadband internet access. Other hotel facilities include a business centre, fitness studio with spa and sauna, and a rooftop restaurant, but no pool.

Windsor Barra Hotel

Windsor Barr Hotel is a good choice for exploring Rio's western suburbs and beaches, particularly for surfers and for those planning to attend the 2016 Olympics. This modern, high-rise hotel facing Barra da Tijuca beach has 338 comfortable if not luxurious rooms with all mod-cons. It also has a restaurant, bar, two swimming pools, fitness centre, sauna, and airport shuttle bus.

Fasano Rio

Still the coolest luxury hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Fasano Rio is a place where both Brazilian and global celebrities come to see and to be seen. Overlooking Ipanema Beach, this stylish designer hotel brings a modern concept of hospitality, elegance and sophistication. The interiors are a joint venture of renowned architect Philippe Stark and the restaurateur and hotelier Rogério Fasano. The décor combines dark tropical woods with light and airy drapes and furnishings. All 79 rooms and 10 suites have a balcony and most with a sea view. Its rooftop terrace and pool gives a superb view over the beach to the Dois Irmãos mountains, stunning at sunset. The restaurant, Fasano Al Mare, is under the capable hands of three-Michelin-star chef Luca Gozzani.