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. Maldita

    Botafogo | Bars/Pubs

    The name of this interesting bar translates, somewhat curiously, as "the Cursed," but don't let that put you off: the cocktails are excellent...Read More

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