RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio de Janeiro is a city that lives and breathes live music, and you don’t even need to love samba to have a good time here. While this sultry musical style does indeed provide the musical backdrop to many nights out in the city, there is ample opportunity to strut your stuff to electronica and hip hop.
This picturesque public square at the heart of Santa Teresa is the social heart of the bohemian neighborhood, and the setting for many a lively street party. The square itself if flanked by bars and restaurants, and this is the best place to jump off the bus on a visit to the famously bohemian neighborhood.
Bar do Bonde
Take just a slight detour from Santa Teresa´s main tourist trail and you´ll be one of the few out-of-towners to find one of the neighborhood´s best bar-restaurants. Located just a few minutes´ walk (follow the tram line uphill from the main square at Largo do Guimaraes), this laid-back little bar offers an excellent range of bar snacks and main meals, along with a decent cocktail list and a seriously well-mixed caipirinha.
00 (Zero Zero)
Brazilians like to combine drinking with dining, and this upscale nightspot, located inside Gavea’s famous planetarium, no less, takes both activities extremely seriously. There’s a formal dining room as well as a lounge and a dancefloor, and a mezzanine level for those who prefer to nibble on sushi and other sophisticated finger foods while watching the beautiful people glide around the dance floor.
Casa da Matriz
if you like your nightlife with an alternative, leftfield edge, Casa da Matriz should be your first port of call when looking for a night out in Rio. DJs at Casa Matriz spin an eclectic mix of tunes that takes in everything from 1960s Tropicalia to 1990s hip hop, via punk, funk and soul, and the place throngs with students and other hip young things at weekends.
Rio is synonymous with samba, and the city’s historical downtown district of Lapa should be the first port of call for anybody looking to hear the real thing played live. At Rio Scenarium, the kooky factor is ramped up to 11 thanks to the fact that this vast venue for samba shows is also a storage space for antiques and film props, so fascinating costumes, masks and other historical artefacts form the backdrop to the dancing, eating and drinking.
Clube dos Democraticos
An eye-catching – if somewhat weather-beaten – art deco building is the setting for some of the longest-standing samba parties in Rio at this much-loved venue. Clube dos Democraticos was founded over a century ago as a carnival society uniting musicians, dancers and others imbued with carnival spirit. Today, the club continues to attract live music lovers, with regular samba sessions packing out the vast dancefloor.
Arcos da Lapa
Along with the beaches, the Christ statue and Sugar Loaf mountain, another postcard-perfect image of Rio are the mammoth white arches that stand in city’s historic center. At night, revelers gather below the arches as a huge street party unfurls – head here on a Friday night to see Rio’s party spirit at its liveliest. The area around the arches is taken over by hundreds of stalls selling all manner of tempting treats to eat and drink, from fresh-baked pizzas and beers to Northeastern acaraje and fruity-but-potent cocktails.
At Bip-Bip you can enjoy one of the most traditional sounds of Samba in Rio de Janeiro. This charming barzinho is so small they don’t even have a waiter, because they don’t need one; guests can retrieve their own ice-cold beers from the fridges when they arrive. Three tables put together form one long table for those who are lucky enough to get a seat, and when the talented musicians start playing, including the likes of Beth Carvalho and Nelson Sargento, everything comes to life.
Address and Telephone: Bip Bip, Rua Alm Gonçalves, 50 – Copacabana Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22060-040 – Brazil; 021 2267-9696
Vinícius Show Bar
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, Brazilian
Wondering where to listen to great, old-fashioned bossa nova? Well, you’ve found the place; this spot is known in Rio as the temple of bossa. The name Vinícius Show Bar was chosen for the venue in honor of Vinícius de Moraes, an esteemed Brazilian poet, lyricist, essayist and playwright, and the place has been drawing crowds since 1989 with its tasty cuisine and top-quality tunes. Located really close to Ipanema Beach, this is a good option for lovers who want to spend a romantic evening together at a low cost; you’ll fall in love all over again when the hypnotic music starts playing and the dancing begins.
If you came to Rio to discover how the locals do it, you’ve arrived at the right place. To immerse yourself in an authentic Brazilian experience go to the Renascença Clube. A group of musicians gather weekly here around a table for a jam session, and before you know it, you’re right in the middle of a crazy samba party. If you want to meet new people, you don’t mind large crowds and you are a big fan of Samba, this spot will fit you like a glove.
Located in the heart of the bohemian neighborhood of Lapa, this is a unique venue in Rio. It is a large mansion, run by an Australian, showcasing the best of Brazilian and international Jazz. A quirky requirement here is that audiences are to remain silent for the entirety of all musical performances. The mission here is to offer musicians a space for creative freedom, with an emphasis on improvisation, composition and experimentation, and since its opening in 2008 TribOz has also gained quite a reputation and is considered the leader of live jazz presentations in Rio de Janeiro.
Address and Telephone: : TribOz, Rua Conde de Lages, 19, Lapa, 20241-080 Rio de Janeiro – RJ; Brazil – (21) 22100366
Students, locals and curious tourists visit Casa Rosa day in and day out, the eclectic mix of music styles making this spot on the hill of Laranjeiras a must-stop for every traveller in Rio. Make zero plans for Sunday evening, ’cause the ronda de samba starts at 5 pm, where you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious traditional feijoada on the terrace overlooking the beautiful Rio de Janeiro whilst listening to some seriously good tunes.
Address and Telephone: Casa Rosa, R. Alice, 550 – Laranjeiras,Rio de Janeiro – RJ,22241-020,Brasil; +55 21 2557-2562
Carioca da Gema
Live music is an essential part of this country’s history and everyday life; it’s everywhere you look, right on the beach, in restaurants, in bars and on the street. And whilst in Rio, you just can’t pass on the chance to visit the most traditional live music spot in town. Since 2000 the Café Musical Carioca da Gema has presented the best of popular Brazilian music through its two most renowned genres, samba and bossa nova. The coldest beer, the best musicians, the most energetic beats and the happiest crowd make this spot a must on your wishlist.
Address and Telephone: Carioca da Gema, Av. Mem de Sá, 79 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20230-150, Brazil; +55 21 2221-0043
The relaxed ambiance and the friendly crowd here will make you feel at home instantly. With a perfect location, right where the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema meet, the playlists you’ll hear at Studio RJ combine the best of old school Brazilian music with upbeat, modern tunes. Stop by for a relaxed post-beach session on Sunday evening, or for live DJ sets every Tuesday night. Live shows usually start around 9:30 pm on weekdays and 12 am on weekends, and the DJs keep the crowd enthusiastic and excited until early in the morning.
Address and Telephone: Studio RJ, Av. Vieira Souto, 110 – Ipanema,Rio de Janeiro – RJ,22420-000,Brasil;
Casarão Ameno Resedá
A classy, elegant, Brazilian-style restaurant which features live performances throughout the evening; can you think of anything more perfect? The beautifully restored Casarão Ameno Resedá is right in the corner of Rua Bento Lisboa, an area filled with a large amount of original and enthralling architecture. Well known musicians such as Elsa Soares have already graced the stage here, and dancers can enjoy pagode jazz, samba and MPB throughout the entire week.
Leviano is set in the vibrant heart of Lapa, and is a colonial mansion which has undergone a modern refurbishment. A venue for all occasions, visitors can have a relaxed dinner, dance the night away or just soak in the music. Leviano’s musical menu is comprised of jazz, electro and live samba sessions. The enormous balcony is the perfect airy and spacious spot to enjoy a colorful cocktail whilst listening to the reverberating rhythms inside.
Address: Leviano, Av. Mem de Sá, 47 – Lapa,Rio de Janeiro – RJ,20230-150,Brasil; +55 21 2507-5779
dos Arcos, s/n – Lapa, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil
The Circo Voador is a mandatory stop in Rio de Janeiro if you like good music. It is the most pleasant concert space in the city, an interesting experience where you can stay close to the stage or just stay outside enjoying the music. You can always find great Brazilian and international artists performing there. This place reminds me of my teenage years where I was constantly running after some band that was playing there! Really takes me back!
Violada do prado
Praça Santos Dumont, 31 – Gávea, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22470-060, Brazil
Sertanejo on Thursday nights is such a fun night, so go!
Álvaro Ramos, 270 – Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22280-110, Brasil
A classic rock bar in Rio de Janeiro. It has the pros and cons of a night club, but with more pros than usual for the rock lover. Don’t go on a rainy night: most of it is open air, and rain can ruin the evening. There are long lines in peak hours, so go early (before 10:30 PM) or be prepared to make friends before checking in. My favorite thing about this bar is the option to stay away from the loud music when not in the mood to dance.
Nanam the bar
Imperatriz Leopoldina, 55 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20060-030, Brazil
This is a must go to experience how people drink and dance like there’s no tomorrow. It is a lively bar and the locals also like to be on the streets around there. Perfect place to meet nice people, drink and dance. They start at 9pm and close around 7am. People go there before or after a party or to spend the whole night. You can choose between jazz on Wednesdays, forró on Saturdays..but always check their Instagram to know what is going on!
Bar Teto Solar
Paulo Barreto, 110 A – Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22280-010, Brazil
This is special for me too. This is the place where we launched our brand, and our first client after all. Very good beers on tap and a cool vibe on this pub. For sure its interior is a little different from the others. It’s really nice to gather a group of friends and spend the night having beers. On the second floor some DJs play nice kind of music, mainly rock n roll
Bar da Boa
Av. Mem de Sá, 69 – Lapa, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20230-150, Brazil
Live music and beer! What else?
Centro Cultural Memórias do Rio
Av. Gomes Freire, 289 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20221-290, Brazil
There is always a good (not famous) band playing, people dancing, a typical Rio’s vibe.
Jack Daniel’s Rock Bar
Av. Epitácio Pessoa, 1484 – Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22411-072, Brazil
Sometimes I go there and I feel sort of out of place, when the audience is too young. But since age is a state of mind, I often go there to listen to some great music and try their drinks. Also, is close to home, so for me, a good reason altogether. Arrive early, otherwise it can be hard to get in.
Blue Note Rio
Av. Borges de Medeiros, 1424 – Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22430-042, Brazil
The most famous New York jazz club now in Rio.
dos Arcos, 24 – Lapa, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20230-060, Brazil
Fundição Progresso is, in my opinion, the epitome of what Rio is about. It’s a real multifunctional place in the middle of the city, in the famous Lapa. There you’ll find a variety of classes open to anyone that’s willing to learn, with several scholarship deals for the ones who can’t pay, so it’s a democratic place for anyone to learn new skills. There are circus classes, carnival band practices and workshops, yoga classes as well as art and dance classes. On top of all that, it’s also a concert hall, with shows and parties every weekend.
Buraco da Lacraia
Rua André Cavalcânti, 58 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20231-050, Brazil
When you arrive, you might think you are at the wrong place, but you are not. On Friday nights, it presents a great comedy show with a mockery of famous operas, from Carmen to Phantom of the Opera. It’s known as a gay night, but, of course, open to everybody. It’s a very small and simple place, so be open minded, it’s an experience!
It probably has quite a lot to do with being home to the world’s biggest carnival – in Rio de Janeiro – but Brazil certainly has a reputation for knowing how to party.
So it should come as no surprise that there are countless music festivals across South America’s biggest country, covering all manner of musical styles from modern rock, pop and dance music to traditional Latin rhythms and uniquely Brazilian sounds.
The most colourful instalment of the global festival series, Ultra Brasil is the ultimate electronic music blow out. Some of the biggest DJs in the world ply their craft in front of tens of thousands of people ready to party. Every year the festival features a stunningly imposing main stage which appears to be made out of LED lights, video screens, fireworks and steel.
Rock in Rio
The ultimate musical experience in South America, Rock in Rio is one of the largest festivals in the world. Presenting the biggest names in pop and rock, the festival should be on any music lover’s bucket list. Back in Rio de Janeiro where it all started in 1985, expect nothing short of the most outrageous festival experience possible.
The biggest dance music festival in the country, XXXPERIENCE Festival is an all out celebration of electronic music culture. An inclusive space offering the freedom to let loose and express yourself, the festival is a surrealistic social utopia set to massive beats and musical creativity.
A week long showcase of alternative music, Festival Bananada has given a platform to rising national and international talent for almost two decades. Independent artists from a spectrum of musical genres and visual arts gather every year in Goiâna to put on a fresh festival championing artistry.
Some festivals are just better thought out than others. Heading into the final year of a three year thematic arc, this year TribalTech is about escape, after rebirth in 2015 and evolution in 2016. What exactly this will entail is still a secret, but the Brazilian founded festival’s modus operandi is always to present the freshest underground house and techno artists.
Perhaps the most recognisable festival brand in the world, Lollapalooza has been making musical memories since it began in 1991. When you think of a classic outdoor festival with massive stages hosting big names from all genres, intimate side stages with rising talent, food areas and all the other trimmings, you’re essentially thinking of Lollapalooza.
DGTL São Paulo
The Dutch electronic music organisation spread its wings last year and set up shop in São Paulo. DGTL’s patented industrial vibe made it across the ocean, as did its emphasis on sonically progressive artists. All DGTL events are about conveying social and environmental consciousness, while offering a chance to come together as a community to experience cutting edge electronic music.
The most immersive festival on this list, Virada Cultural is the day when music, film, theatre, visual arts, multi-media installations and more take over São Paulo for a full 24 hours of unbridled artistic expression. Inspired by global Nuit Blanche arts festival series, Virada Cultural has been a such a success that smaller editions are now spreading throughout Brazil.
Taking place in one of the true paradises on the planet, Pratigi Beach, Universo Paralello creates an alternative world where harmony and community reign supreme. Soundtracked by trance and techno DJs from national and international scenes, the festival’s euphoric atmosphere makes a pretty compelling point, begging the question why can’t life always be like this.
Rio Music Carnival
Rio Carnival, you heard of it? No Brazilian festivals list worth anything would be complete without it. Rio Music Carnival takes place right in the middle of the biggest party in the world, focussing all that fervent party energy on something that really matters: music. Nothing short of the best would be appropriate, so the festival’s lineup consists of the biggest electronic music DJs in the world.