Samba dancing, bossa nova singing and balmy nights with cocktails by the beach. Book a Rio de Janeiro hotel and take in the city’s delights with this guide to the top 10 nightlife things to do in Rio de Janeiro.
Intimate choro grooves in a baronial townhouse
Three landings of antique-filled dining rooms looking over a cosy stage play host to some of the city’s best choro musicians. Lean over a wooden balcony and take in the laid-back jazz-infused melodies of Rio’s delicate guitar players.
Rio Scenarium: 20 Rua do Lavradio, Centro
Classical symphonies at the Theatro Municipal
Be spellbound by Rio’s classical orchestra in the opulent surroundings of the Art Nouveau Theatro Municipal. Ornate Assyrian-inspired mosaics and white marble line the theatre’s sumptuous café, a great spot for pre-concert drinks.
Theatro Municipal: Praça Floriano, Centro
Ipanema’s glamorous seaside dining
French-inspired bistro cuisine combines with modern-retro decor at the stylish bar d’Hotel. Take a seat at the minimalist bar and gaze out on to the moonlit shore of Ipanema with a champagne cocktail.
Bar d’Hotel: 696 Avenida Delfim Moreira, Ipanema
Cutting-edge beats in slick surroundings
Fashion-conscious hipster haven 00 (zero zero) is a candlelit lounge club showcasing Brazil’s most talented electronic music DJs. Join in-the-know locals on Sunday nights for fusions of house and Brazilian ghetto baile funk music.
00 (zero zero): 240 Avenida Padre Leonel Franca, Gávea
Samba school magic in Mangueira
An essential part of nightlife in Rio de Janeiro – every weekend from August to February the welcoming Mangueira samba school rehearses its spectacular carnival parade performance. Devoted followers, young and old, dance to the legion of costumed performers decked in the neighbourhood’s traditional green and pink colours.
Mangueira Samba School: 1072 Rua Visconde de Niterói, Mangueira
Cachaça sampling in Leblon
Cachaça (cane liquor), Brazil’s fiery national drink, is best tasted in Leblon’s bustling watering hole, Academia da Cachaça. Savour one of 300 brands or mix it with passion fruit and crushed ice for a thirst-quenching caipirinha cocktail on your way back to your Rio de Janeiro hotel.
Academia da Cachaça: 26 Rua Conde Bernadotte, Leblon
Flood-lit football at the Maracanã
An evening crunch game between local Rio de Janeiro rivals at the Maracanã, the world’s largest stadium, is an intoxicating spectacle. Add to the thousands of roaring voices as ticker tape pours from the skies and drummers beat to a chorus of chants.
Maracanã Stadium: Rua Professor Eurico Rabelo, Maracanã
Authentic bossa nova in Copacabana
Sweet and sultry bossa nova crooners come and go at Copacabana’s tiny, unassuming Bip Bip bar. Mesmerising harmonies drift out on to the tables outside while local legends join in on improvised jam sessions.
Bip Bip: 50 Rua Almirante Gonçalves, Copacabana
Street parties in Lapa
Travelling groups of samba de pagode singers and drummers belt out fast rhythms in packed dancehalls and bars before spilling out on to Joaquim Silva street in bohemian Lapa. Grab a cold beer from a roadside stall and let yourself be carried off by the crowds.
Rua Joaquim Silva, Lapa
Dance classes in the historic centre
Wrought-iron balconies and French shutters open on to a colonial-era square in the handsomely restored theatre of the Centro Cultural Carioca. Learn to salsa or samba like the locals in its 1920s ballroom.
Centro Cultural Carioca: 37 Rua do Teatro, Centro