Entertainment / Nightlife
Rio offers a wide variety of nightlife for every taste, age and price range. You can dance the Samba with the Cariocas in numerous live music venues. You can listen to every type of music in a small club or in an elegant nightclub. You might even just sit in the open-air restaurants on the beach strip, gazing at the illuminated beaches until late in the evening. The city is huge and not always transparent for the visitors who do not necessarily know their way around. Please ask us about or use our Nightlife Guide to look up any kind of entertainment opportunities.
Even though you can find almost everything in any part of the town, we will start with a general picture of the different neighborhoods known for their specific kinds of entertainment. This is a general guide, just to offer an idea where you can easily find what you want. For a detailed picture of the nightlife, please take a look at our specielized guides :
In most bars and clubs you will get all your drinks and the final bill written on a small card. It could be very expensive to loose this card; please watch out and keep the card by you all the time. Many bars and clubs charge an entrance fee. In most of them, you could have free drinks that amount to what you paid to get in. Please ask about that at the entrance, since the possibility of English speaking staff is much bigger there than at the cashier’s desk (where you pay the entrance fee). Most such places accept credit cards.
Centro / Lapaboasts many nightclubs with live Brazilian music, which are visited mainly by locals, thus you will get acquainted with a Rio party in the Cariocas way. Join the fun, Samba with the locals - you will have a blast!
Flamengo/Botafogo offer all kinds of bars and clubs; there are fewer here than in other areas. Most of the clubs in Copacabana are in a part of the red light district, but you can also find plenty of restaurants along the beach strip or small bars on the side streets, all full of Cariocas. Ipanema and Leblon offer bars and dance clubs of a “more sophisticated” class. In the most popular ones, you may have to wait 30-40 minutes to get in. For Fridays and Saturdays we recommend you to make a reservation to avoid spending time in front of the club waiting.
Barra Barra is somehow farther down from Copacabana and Ipanema. Mainly people from the upper middle class live in the area. At night, you can find everything you look for.
Discos, Bars und Clubs
Most bars and clubs are not too different from the equivalent European or American places. The local feature is that many of them also have a restaurant and serve dinner. The restaurant is often on the ground level where the music is not too loud. The bar and dance floors are on the second level. You could easily start a chat with the Cariocas and they surely know how to party! In Ipanema and Leblon you will be able to communicate in English with most Brazilian visitors. The same is not necessarily true for the clubs in Lapa/Centro gilt.
During your stay in Rio, you will most likely reside in Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon, and you will first get to know the clubs and bars in those areas. In any case, a tour to Lapa/Centro is highly recommended. There, you will find numerous nightclubs with live music; you could also improve your Samba skills.
If you do not dare dance Samba with the Cariocas yet, you could experience the multifaceted and gaudy show in Plataforma in Leblon as a spectator. This folklore show is not typical for the area that is famous with its elegant nightclubs. However, it is a much loved night attracion not only by tourists but also by the locals.
A good place to start the evening (and easy to find) is the irish pub Shenanigans, located at Praca General Osorio in Ipanema, on the side that borders Copacabana. You could go there earlier in the evening and play Darts or Billard. The tourists and the Brazilians create a mixed crowd and it is easy to make new acquaintances here. A couple of streets further toward Leblon is the Emporio bar. Its decor is very simple, however it is a very popular bar, which is overcrowded every night. For this reason, many visitors enjoy their drinks and conversations on the street in front of the bar.
Melt lies several more streets into Leblon. The restaurant and bar, where you can converse in a quieter setting, are on the street level. The dance floor is on the second level, where, at a small stage, you could listen to a local band almost every night. Here too, it is not easy to get in. Either a reservation or coming earlier in the evening is recommended.
Very close by is the nightclub Bombar, a relatively new place where you will spend less time waiting to get in. The restaurant in Bombar offers numerous specialties from Japan for all sushi-lovers.
At the border with Gávea, right next to the Planetarium, is Zero Zero. You could enjoy a very long night here. The restaurant offers a great menu and an exceptional service. One part of the club is outdoors, and you can sit and chat cosily while at the same time enjoy the clear sight of the National Park Tijuca’s hills. The restaurant and the dance floor are inside. The public in Zero Zero is somewhat more elegant, and appropriate attire is recommended.
Many of the bars and clubs in Ipanema and Leblon have the so called 'Consumo Minimo' system. You get a certain amount of credit and you could use it to pay for several drinks. However, even if you only have a beer, you still have to pay the whole credit. If your order goes over the credit limit, the extra amount will be added to your credit in the final bill.
Some of the most fameous clubs: