Nightlife & the Arts in Rio de Janeiro

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Rio de Janeiro Nightlife

It's sometimes said that cariocas would rather expend their energy on the beach and that nighttime is strictly for recharging their batteries and de-sanding their swimsuits, but witnessing the masses swarming into Lapa at 10 pm on a Friday night make this a tricky argument to endorse. New nightclubs and bars continue to sprout up with remarkable regularity, and there are cutting-edge underground rhythms and musical styles competing with samba, chorro, and MPB for the locals' hearts.

Rio supports a rich variety of cultural activity and cutting-edge nightlife. The classic rhythms of samba can be heard in many clubs and bars, and on street corners, but it's possible to find something to suit every kind of musical taste almost every night of the week. Major theater, opera, ballet, and classical-music performances are plentiful, and smaller, more intimate events happen in most neighborhoods. Arts enthusiasts should pick up the bilingual Guia do Rio published by Riotur, the city's tourist board. The Portuguese-language newspapers Jornal do Brasil and O Globo publish schedules of events in the entertainment supplements of their Friday editions, which can be found online at www.jb.com.br and www.oglobo.com.br. For an up-to-date look at happenings in party-focused Lapa, check out www.lanalapa.com.br. Finally, Veja Rio is the city's most comprehensive entertainment guide, published every Saturday and available at all newsstands.

A much-loved local pastime is drinking a well-chilled chopp (draft beer) and enjoying the lively atmosphere of a genuine Rio botequim (bar). Every neighborhood has its share of upmarket options (branches of Belmonte, Devassa, and Conversa Fiada are dotted around town), but no less enjoyable are the huge number of hole-in-the-wall spots offering ice-cold bottles of cerveja (beer) and the chance to chat with down-to-earth regulars.

Live music is Rio's raison d'être, with street corners regularly playing host to impromptu renditions. During Carnival the entire city can feel like one giant playground. The electronic-music scene is also very much alive, and the underground popularity of Funk (the city's own X-rated genre, not to be confused with the James Brown version) is slowly seeping into the mainstream, down from the huge bailes or open-air parties held weekly in the city's favelas. In addition to samba and Brazilian pop (MPB), hip-hop, electronica, and rock can be heard in clubs around the city.

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