Rio de Janeiro is renowned as one of the party capitals of the world and the nightlife is legendary. Cariocas know how to enjoy themselves and they have opened enough bars, cafés and different clubs to ensure they never have to go far to find somewhere to let their hair down.
Rio really does have something to cater for everyone’s tastes, and then some! Brazil is the home of samba dancing and music and Rio is its birthplace. There are clubs to learn the local dance all over the city. Instead of going straight for the normal nightclub, where you will find anywhere in the world, put on your dancing shoes, grab a partner and begin learning your newest dance. If nothing else, it will make sure you won’t forget your nights in Rio for a long time.
If you don’t feel the need to embarrass yourself in front of the locals you can always take the safer option and vouch for some of the city’s live music venues or dance clubs. Along with clubs that have bands playing live samba music you will also find Latin, jazz and international music played in other venues.
The dance music scene is thriving in Rio. The liveliest nights are between Thursday and Sunday. Local and guest DJs appear at different venues around the city while, although local dance artists do sometimes grace the turntables, the majority of dance music played is from America or Europe. Once in these clubs, steer clear of ‘pitboys’. These are locals men pumped up with steroids, wearing tight clothes and glamorous women, known as Mariastatame, hanging out of their arms. They can be hostile if you look at them, or their girlfriend, in what they feel is the wrong way.
The best suburbs in Rio to find the widest selection of nightclubs, bars, samba clubs and other night spots are Copacabana, St Teresa (the artists’ quarter), the Laogo district for sophistication, Botafogo (the gay quarter) and, to party with the locals, Ipanema.
Av. Rio Branco 277, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This is one of the city's nightclubs which, along with chart hits, frequently have Brazilian music pumping through the sound system.
Rua Vinicius de Moraes 49 A, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Named after a famous song written there one afternoon, this bar now cashes in on this fact. While not the most glamorous bar in the world, it still serves good beer and is full of young, tanned, beautiful people.
Av. Mem de Sá 17, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
New, stylish decor is combined with some old fashioned features in this large nightclub. Bands and Brazilian musicians appear regularly.
Praça Tiradentes 79, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Originally opened as a dance hall in 1932, today the club still draws a large crowd and packs in 1,500 people when full. Brazilian music can be heard through the speakers.
Av. Borges de Medeiros 1426, Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This is one of Rio's most popular nightclubs and is full of young people bopping the night away to pumping dance music. If you feel hungry at any stage, there is a Japanese restaurant on the premises also.
Rua Raul Pompéia, 94, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This is a big nightclub in Copacabana with three floors to choose from. House, techno and other types of dance music is what you are most likely to hear.
Av. das Américas, 4666, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Styled just like the 'Hard Rock' Cafés, there is memorabilia all around the bar from famous Brazilian musicians. The dance floor is open all nights apart from Monday. Worth a visit if only to have a burger in the café and to witness the energetic waiters and waitresses.
Rua Paul Redfern, 37, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This is a trendy young peoples bar that serves great cocktails. If drinking alcohol doesn't keep you happy, you can also get meals.
Av. Atlântica, 1936, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Manuel & Juaquim is one of three different branches around Rio. Here, they like like to mimic all that is Portuguese and there is always a pleasant atmosphere.
Rua Paul Pompeia 94, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Le Boy is one of Rio's best known gay clubs that gets an almost exclusively all male crowd.