Rio de Janeiro

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 Brazilian pop (MPB) for the locals' hearts.

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 and Devassa 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 nighttime 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 MPB, hip-hop, electronica, and rock can be heard in clubs around the city.

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  • 1. Academia da Cachaça

    Leblon | Bars/Pubs

    Not merely the place in Rio to try caipirinhas (made here with a variety of tropical fruits), Academia da Cachaça is a veritable temple to...Read More

  • 2. Nosso

    Ipanema | Bars/Pubs

    This happening hang-out is set on one of Ipanema's prettiest squares. Spread over three floors, it combines a rum bar with a rooftop terrace...Read More

  • 3. Bracarense

    Leblon | Bars/Pubs

    A trip to Bracarense after a hard day on the beach is what Rio is all about. Crowds spill onto the streets while parked cars double as chairs...Read More

  • 4. Garota de Ipanema

    Ipanema | Bars/Pubs

    This is the original Garota (there are branches all over the city), where Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes penned the timeless song "The Girl...Read More

  • 5. Jobi Bar

    Leblon | Bars/Pubs

    Authentically carioca and a fine place to experience Rio spirit, the bar at down-to-earth Jobi stays open on weekends until the last customer...Read More

  • 6. Armazem Devassa

    Ipanema | Bars/Pubs

    Another cross-city bar chain, Devassa—the original and arguably the best branch—is notable for its house-brand beers, including delicious pale...Read More

  • 7. House of Music

    Leblon | Live Music

    The fashionable nightclub and live-music venue attracts a young, photogenic crowd. There’s an interesting and varied program of live music and...Read More

  • 8. Studio RJ

    Arpoador | Dance Clubs

    Live bands, diverse DJ sets, and dancing to stunning sea views are the draw at this welcome addition to the Zona Sul nightlife scene. The ample...Read More

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