Monday, March 25, 2013

Top 10 Sin Cities: No.5 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio is one of their biggest playgrounds. Pick a beach -- Copacabana to Ipanema -- and stare at topless women all day. Of course, this is all a prelude to when the fun begins at night. Slip into any of the city’s nightclubs to grind with Brazil’s best over-pounding bass lines and bossa nova. Rio also makes our sin cities list because it has legal brothels with a menu of services. To truly experience Rio, however, visit during its annual Carnaval, a weeklong festival of parades, music and masquerades that brings Rio’s flesh and fantasy culture to a boiling point. Bring plenty of sun and fun protection.

If there is one place in the world offering every single earthly delight any sane person could want, Rio de Janeiro is it. Sprawling beaches, beautiful people, parties 24/7 and people living life at full tilt is what this Brazilian city of seven million is all about. The Marvelous City, as it is often called, is the cultural, financial and fashion center not only of Brazil, but of the whole South American continent as well.

Before setting foot on the airplane for a trip to one of the most visually stunning cities on the planet, there are a few things you should leave behind, mainly your partner. Unless you have a very open relationship, this might be a trip you would ask your college buddies to join in on, because Rio has more temptations than you could ever imagine.

Along with the ball and chain, your valuables that are not absolutely necessary should also be left at home. Your ice won't impress the ladies at the beach anyway, player. Lastly, any previous knowledge of partying should be thrown out the window. Rio will put your memories of college  parties to shame.

After getting schooled on the basics of Brazilian travel, you should now be ready for what will be one of the most memorable vacations of your life.

As a tourist, you will be spending most of your time on the coast of Rio, which is mostly considered the south zone. The hotels and beaches will be brimming with people, so the wisest thing for you to do is book a hotel in Leme. Smaller and quieter than the other popular hot spots in Rio, Leme is centrally located on the beach. Getting there from the airport is easy: hail a cab, but make sure the driver doesn't offer a fixed rate, because he'll be screwing you royally. Get the guy to turn on his meter, and you'll realize the price will not be as exorbitant.

Where to go

The nightlife areas in Rio are intrinsically spread out into three areas.  There’s the “lower” Zona Sul (South Zone) which consists of Gavea, Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana neighborhoods.  The “upper” Zona Sul consisting of Botafogo, Laranjeiras, Flamengo.  Then there’s the Centro (downtown) consisting of Lapa and Centro.
The Lower Zona Sul is the most affluent of three and attracts well-do crowd.  Covers range anywhere from $30 reals to $120 reals (some of the drinks are included as consumable, more on that later).  Some of the recommended clubs are Nossa Semhora in Copacabana, Conversa Fiada, Books and Baronetti in Ipanema, Melt in Leblon, and 00 in Gavea.
The Upper Zona Sul is less affluent than its Lower sibling but has some great gems to discover.  The main ones are Casa Rosa in Laranjairas, Casa do Matriz in Botafogo.  Covers range from $10 to about $30.  The places listed above have a house party type feel and are pretty informal.
Then there’s Lapa which is considered by many the heart of Rio’s nightlife.  It’s basically a large street party that takes place on Friday and Saturday where people can hang out, drink cheap beers and mingle.  Since it’s outside and attracts all kinds of people, it’s better to be vigilantand aware of your surroundings, however it’s not dangerous by any means.
In Lapa, you have your option of a street party, or some of the clubs that play Samba, Baile Funk, etc.  The recommended clubs are Democraticos, 40 Graus and Rio Scenarium.  The covers range from about $15 to $30.
When you enter a semi-decent club (all clubs in Lower Zona Sul fall into this category), you will be given a piece of paper.  Don’t lose it, because when you order a drink, the barman marks of the drink on this paper, and you pay everything (including the cover) when you exit.
Also, sometimes when you pay the cover, some of it or all over it can be simply consumed by drinks (consumação).  So if the club charges $20 to enter, in some clubs, you can drink that $20, and only pay $20 on exit (including cover+drinks).  Here are some clubs to check out:


Plataforma, Rio de Janeiro
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Nuth in Barra da Tijuca

Nuth in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
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Baronetti, Rio de Janeiro
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Lapa, Rio de Janeiro
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Emporio, Rio de Janeiro
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Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe, Rio de Janeiro
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Avenida Atlantica

Avenida Atlantica, Rio de Janeiro
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Bombar, Rio de Janeiro
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Feira do Nordeste

Feira do Nordeste, Rio de Janeiro
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Lord Jim Pub

Lord Jim Pub, Rio de Janeiro
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Centro Cultural Carioca, Rio de Janeiro
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Emporio 37

Emporio 37, Rio de Janeiro
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Arcos da Lapa

Arcos da Lapa, Rio de Janeiro
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Bunker 94

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 2 Reviews  For those of you who will emerge at the other end of the weekend still itching to go out, Monday nights can be the real challenge. Most places are at their slowest this time of the week. This is a... 


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Cafe Cultural Sacrilegio

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The Bip Bip: A Delightful Boteco with Samba Music

The Bip Bip: A Delightful Boteco with Samba Music, Rio de Janeiro

 Paul2001 Says:  This was one of my favourite nighttime spots in Rio. The Bip Bip is a highly informal and unpretentious place to catch some Samba music. It is sort of a music... 

Café Cultural de Sacrilégio: Nightlife - Samba Clubs

Café Cultural de Sacrilégio: Nightlife - Samba Clubs, Rio de Janeiro
 randjrj Says:  This is a great traditional samba club in Lapa. There is good food to be had early on in the night, and the live music they put out is pretty good too. Get... 

Waxy´s Bar: A lively spot with live music

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When to go
Because Rio de Janeiro is a beach city and its inhabitants, cariocas, are beach creatures, the night usually starts pretty early.  It’s normal to be inline to a club at like 10:00-10:30pm.
The typical schedule can be like this.
  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – Conversa Fiada (in Ipanema)
  • Wednesday – Casa do Matriz (in Botafogo)
  • Thursday – Democraticos (in Lapa)
  • Friday – Lapa street party (or any other club listed above)
  • Saturday – Rio Scenarium (in Lapa or any other club)
  • Sunday – Casa Rosa (in Laranjeiras or check out the Feijoada here)

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