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Lapa at Night?

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Virginia
posts: 64
reviews: 2
Lapa at Night?

Coming to Rio in February... wondering if the clubs in Lapa are safe weekdays or if it's safer to go on weekends? Is it worth a trip out of Ipanema at night to go there? Really want to see some Samba action, but don't want to get myself in trouble. Are taxis readily available? Is there a particular road there where all the action is and where it's safest?

Salvador, BA
posts: 8,267
reviews: 1
1. Re: Lapa at Night?

Take a look at www.ipanema.com for a description of clubs in Lapa (and elsewhere in Rio). I would recommend Carioca de Gema for great live music and dancing. Try to get a seat up in the balcony near the railing where you can see and hear all the action and go down to dance if it moves you. Thursday, Friday, Saturday are best in Lapa. A taxi can bring you to the door, but there is usually a traffic jam and it's OK to walk the rest of the way in the crowds. Everybody knows where the club is. Just say the name. There will be a taxi waiting in front of the club for you; you won't even have to walk further than the curb.

Rio de Janeiro
Destination Expert
for Rio de Janeiro
posts: 664
reviews: 9
2. Re: Lapa at Night?

Hi!

I follow the above poster, go without fear! Of course some days are busier than others, being from thursday to saturday the busy ones. Sunday only advisible to go if is carnival or the night before any holiday, because in other sunday nights would be dead.

On monday to wednesday, is busy only around the clubs, so check their websites first to see what is going on. About main roads to remember their names, here are them - Avenida Mem de Sá and Rua do Lavradio. These are the roads where most of the main clubs, bars and restaurants are located. Outside that, I´d point Democraticos on rua do riachuelo, parallel to avenida mem de sá.

about good clubs to go, I recomend Rio Scenarium and Bar da Ladeira, besides Carioca da Gema and Democraticos. For big brazilian music names gigs, go to Fundição Progresso and Circo Voador. If you want to get some good old rock n´roll, Cine Lapa is your place (they are even hosting a live rock n roll festival during carnival).

keep asking if you have more questions!

best,

Gabriela

Virginia
posts: 64
reviews: 2
3. Re: Lapa at Night?

Thank you so much for your advice! Since we probably will only get to Lapa once, which of the clubs you mentioned would be the best for us to really experience Samba & traditional Rio nightlife? And are taxis readily available right outside all the clubs there? What about dress code (for men, mainly) - is my husband okay with a t-shirt & jeans or shorts? Or would he need to wear a button down shirt.. Also, what time should we go? Is there typically lines out front to get in?

Rio de Janeiro
Destination Expert
for Rio de Janeiro
posts: 664
reviews: 9
4. Re: Lapa at Night?

well, it really depends on which day you have avaliable, but I´d stay with Rio Scenarium - www.rioscenarium.com.br

If is a friday night, I´d go to Carioca da Gema, but get very early, as their singer, Tereza Cristina is a famous one and always bring big crowds to the bar.

yes, the taxis are always in front of the main clubs, so dont worry. Some clubs, like Carioca da Gema, even have their own taxi company.

about dress code, wearing jeans is ok, no problem. I´m not sure about shorts, I dont see much people wearing this during the night on clubs in Rio. And you can use t-shirts, no problem.

about the lines, usually on friday and saturday there are big ones, expecially on Carioca da Gema and Rio Scenarium. So get there early (around 6pm for friday and around 8 pm for saturday), to get a good table and view of the band.

when will you be in Rio?

best,

Gabriela

London, England
posts: 2
5. Re: Lapa at Night?

Hi...I have just returned from my 5th trip to Brazil and was actually in a samba restaurant/club in Lapa one week ago.

As far as I am concerned you need have no fear whatsoever. I went with a Brazilian friend, as she wanted to show me the place, but I would have no hesitation going alone, but not speaking Portuguese the evening might be rather boring, so I would suggest that you would enjoy the evening more with an English speaking companion.

The street where the samba places are located is reminiscent of a busy street in any large city where nightclubs are located, perhaps without some of the bad behaviour that one might see elsewhere, as there are security staff much in evidence. The street is quite narrow and seemed almost blocked by the many taxis, hoping to get a passenger. We went mid-week and the venue was not too crowded, despite being told the place was fully booked, we went and were able to get it.....However, if you plan to go at the weekend, then you must make a reservation.

You need have no worries about using the yellow taxis in Rio, they all operate in the meter system, so even if you don't understand one word of Portuguese, you will be able to see how much you owe the driver. The taxi fares there are very cheap, from Ipanema to Lapa you will find it will cost you no more than the Brazilian Real equivilent of £7. Sit in the back of the taxi, you will find the driver will lock the doors once you are in and don't be worried when they drive through red traffic lights at night, this is something that is accepted there, the local drivers all knowing where they have to be careful. Something else that I usually do is at the beginning of my stay, if I happen to find a driver that I particularly like, take his card and have the hotel staff call to actually book him for a particular trip, so, in your position going to Lapa, I think you would feel much happier with a driver you already know and you can also book an appointment for him to collect you at a particular time. I am sorry that I cannot remember the name of the club or the street, but any of the locals will be able to advise you.

If you like Bossa Nova music, something I love to do in Ipanema is to spend an evening or two at the "Cafe Vinicius". This is a bar and restaurant where there is live bossa nova music every night. Again, if you do not speak Portuguese, have your hotel make a reservation for you. There is a cover charge of 33 rials, I think, I usually find for one person with food and a couple of drinks the evening costs about £30, but is well worth it. There are usually two sung sessions during the evening by different performers, well worth being there for both. If you can, try to be there when Maria Creuza is performing. She is said to be the leading living performer of Tom Jobim's music as she acually knew the man. You will also find that during the evening CDs of the artists are passed around, however, there is no obligation to buy.

If you are not going to Carnival, sadly I've not seen that yet, another thing I really enjoyed was a trip to the samba school, you will not see dancing, but all of the percussion being rehearsed, a huge number of marching percussion musicians, all controlled by whistles. I don't like conducted tours, but I did take the tour advertised by the hotel for this one and the surprise at the end of the evening was to be taken to a venue very close to the school, where there was music and locals dancing samba. It was not a high class venue, by any means, so don't dress up, but very great fun, I thought.

The big security issue is to try to look as much like a local as possible. Don't wear any jewellery and try to dress down all the time. If you need directions or help (and 99% of the Brazilians are the most amazingly warm, helpful and lovely people) ask a woman. If people try to ask you questions on the street, do not make eye contact, do not stop, just carry on obliviously, which is what the Brazilians do.

Believe me, you have made a great choice in terms of a place to visit, relax and have the best time.

Virginia
posts: 64
reviews: 2
6. Re: Lapa at Night?

To Girl from Rio & Sjonnie - thank you so much for all your advice! We're going to be in Rio the first week in March. I hope the weather is nice (what is it usually like in early March? I hope not rainy!). Will there still be a lot of tourists in Rio at this time?

Am excited to go to Lapa. I was hesitant at first, but now I think it will be fine. We will dress down in jeans (but no shorts) and try and get there early.

So I'm assuming these clubs you eat dinner in too - since you said get there around 6 PM? I was hoping to go a bit later, like after dinner around 10 but I'd rather have a seat...

Salvador, BA
posts: 8,267
reviews: 1
7. Re: Lapa at Night?

Again, I will say this about jeans in the extreme heat---leave them for the plane trip. Take something much lighter weight--as BklynFlyGuy suggests, maybe lightweight linen--and you will be much more comfortable.

Greater Washington...
posts: 230
reviews: 12
8. Re: Lapa at Night?

OK I must be confused as to the set up of the "clubs "so I need a little clarification:

Are the "nightclubs" in Rio more like supper/dinner clubs (lounges, etc) where you can eat, dance, watch live bands or is it more like a traditional nightclub where you're strictly there to dance and drink whether there's a band playing or not????

OR is it a mix of both?

If so, which places are the supper/dinner clubs?

Which places are more like the traditional nightclubs?

Salvador, BA
posts: 8,267
reviews: 1
9. Re: Lapa at Night?

also...

Clubs, like Carioca de Gema for example, serve snacks (some are substantial, like a huge coldcut platter), but not really dinner.

Rio de Janeiro
Destination Expert
for Rio de Janeiro
posts: 664
reviews: 9
10. Re: Lapa at Night?

yes, some nighclubs have dinner options, like Rio Scenarium - www.rioscenarium.com.br/nossacozinha.aspx

another option if you are in Lapa, is having dinner on the restaurants on the area (I strongly recomend Nova Capela or Bar Brasil) and then go to the club.

best,

Gabriela