Rio de Janeiro Nightlife

Nightclubs, Live Music, Samba Clubs, Bars & Botequins!

The Rio de Janeiro nightlife choices are seemingly endless. Each neighborhood has a large number of bars, nightclubs, live music venues, or botequins. We'll give you the rundown and a list of our favorite places.

There's no shortage of places here to enjoy the Rio de Janeiro nightlife. In Copacabana and Ipanema, there seems to be a bar or botequim on every corner and quite often several on the same block. More difficult for the tourist to locate are the best nightclubs and live music venues. Like any cosmopolitan city, trendy bars and nightclubs come in and out of fashion quickly, but Rio has a number of mainstay venues that attract tourists and locals alike.

There is some overlap between a drinking establishment that is considered to be a Bar and one that's called a Botequim (plural = Botequins). Both Bars and Botequins serve excellent cold draft beer known as "Chopp" or 'Chope" (show-pee). At a Bar in Rio the emphasis will be on drinking, and light snacks called "salgadinhos" (Sal-gah-ding-yos) will almost always be available. A Brazilian bar may also be called a "Boteco" especially if salgadinhos are served. Bars are mostly frequented in the late afternoon by tourists coming from the beach or by locals stopping on the way home from work. Rio's bars also get crowded in the mid evening on the weekends as young people get tuned up before heading to the nightclubs.

A Botequim is a Bar or Boteca that serves salgadinhos as well as complete meals. The better Botequins in Ipanema are crowded from 8pm until after midnight almost every day of the week and are known for serving some of the best Brazilian food the city has to offer. A Botequim is the place where friends and neighbors get together to eat, drink, watch soccer, and gossip. Botequins are fun and loud places where the beer flows well after midnight.

Live Brazilian Music is offered in clubs and dance halls all over the city with the best and largest selection being in the Bohemian neighborhood called Lapa. If you are staying in Ipanema or Copacabana you will need to hire a taxi if you want to go dancing in Lapa. Lapa has the largest selection of Samba Dance Clubs in the city, and every trip to Rio should include a night out at one of these dance halls. The Samba clubs are safe, clean and make for an unforgettable night out on the town. The once popular Bossa Nova music is less often played live in Rio, as it's become "background music" in the minds of most Cariocas (Rio natives). There are a number of venues in the city that do offer live Bossa Nova, as well as Jazz and MPB (Popular Brazilian Music).

The few nightclubs in Ipanema and Leblon are upscale and have higher cover charges and drink prices. You may have to pay through the nose to party with the beautiful and trendy crowd. Copacabana has several well known large nightclubs for both Gay and straight partiers. The Rio de Janeiro nightlife in Copacabana can get pretty wild, and prostitutes are known for crawling these clubs in search of all too willing male customers.

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