Nightlife in Rio de Janeiro
Bars in Rio
Copacabana Palace (£££)
Avenida Atlântica 1702, +55 21 2548 7070
Your first Portuguese word (after please and thank you, of course) should be Caipirinhia – the name of the national cocktail of Brazil, and a drink available almost everywhere. Cachaça and handfuls of fresh squeezed lime muddled with crushed ice and sugar make for a surprisingly powerful yet refreshing post-sightseeing tipple. Go easy, though – they’re deceptively strong! Prices range from £1.50 for a beach hut cocktail in a plastic cup to £10 if you’re drinking at the ritzy Copacabana Palace)
Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva, 236, +55 21 2135-4237
For a post-dinner palate cleanser, pop into one of Rio’s many smoothie bars like Yogoberry and order an Açaí. A cooling sorbet made of the indigenous and powerful açaí berry, a small tub will set you back a couple of quid and fills you up with antioxidant goodness. Deliciously dark, juicy and smooth.
Bar Urca (£)
R. Cândido Gaffrée, 205 – Urca, +55 21 2295-8744
For al fresco drinks with a view, get down to Bar Urca in time for sunset. Cariocas and tourists jostle for space on the sea walls, cradling their post-work beers and pre-dinner Caipirinhas as they chat away and nibble on their delicious pastel de camarão (mini prawn pasties).
Rio Scenarium (££)
Rua do Lavradio, 20 – Centro, +55 21 3147-9000
No trip to Rio is complete without visiting a samba club and dancing all night to its infectious beat. Rio Scenarium is a safe but reassuringly lively club with floor upon floor of great music, from live samba bands to dance floors thrumming to electro pop. You get given a paper bar tab on entry and the bar staff add to it throughout the evening. Then you pay on exit, along with your entrance fee. Confused? We were, but you won’t be. Keep an eye on that tab. Entrance is around £10, cocktails £5 and beers £2. Bring your ID and don’t get bother getting there before midnight.
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Carnaval (£) is an ideal time to visit Rio, or to encourage friends to come and stay for a few days. Running for five days from February 28th, Carnaval finishes the day before Lent begins, and is a celebration of all pleasures of the flesh before forty days of saintly living. So for that read lots of hearty Brazilian food, plentiful drink, and lots and lots of scantily clad dancing to samba beats. Get tickets for the samba parade at Sambodomo – prices starts at around £35 per person, and start the morning with a strong coffee. You’re going to need it.
For another truly colourful Brazilian experience, get tickets to a match – any match – at the epic Maracana Stadium -(£££). The World Cup 2014 kicks off here in June with the Maracana as its flagship, and the Olympics touch down on South American soil in 2016.
Shows in Rio
Look out for classical and jazz music concerts on Morro da Urca (the halfway station on Sugar Loaf Mountain) for a magical musical evening with a view to die for (£) and get tickets for Rock in Rio which runs in Rio, Madrid and Lisbon every September – it’s the biggest music festival in the world and has played host to everyone from Muse to Justin Timberlake in recent years (£££). Beware that with all big events in Rio flight prices can skyrocket, so book early.