Lapa is at the center of Rio de Janeiro’s nightlife. What was once a rundown, crime-riddled part of town is now a thriving hub of bars and clubs which still maintains its edgy, historic appeal. Lapa embraces the vibrant dance culture that has defined Rio’s image over hundreds of years, with some of the most authentic samba venues in the city. Here are some of our favorite bars in Lapa.
The reference point for those passionate about samba and MPB, Carioca da Gema is an authentic venue that hosts some of the city’s best quality live music acts. Its heavy emphasis on samba makes this bar ideal to experience the music that shaped Rio’s soul. Fill up on the delicious food on the menu, enjoy the good variety of drinks and prepare for some hip-shaking music that lasts until dawn.
Carioca da Gema, Av. Mem de Sá, 79 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2221 0043
Boasting the quasi-official title of ‘the best pastel in the world’, Bar do Adão’s menu offers over 60 different pastel types that keeps the bar thriving just as much during the week as on the weekends. Although famous for its award-winning pastels, it is still a popular drinking spot with its excellent wine selection, classic chilled chopp (a Rio-style beer in a small glass) and caipirinhas.
Bar do Adão, Av. Gomes Freire, 602 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2232 2630
This bar’s unwavering popularity is evidenced by the lively crowd that fill the bar and spill out onto the surrounding pavement every weekend. The empadas abertas (open pies) at Boteco da Garrafa are famous for being among the best in the city and a make a perfect combination with the bar’s national and imported beer choices.
Boteco da Garrafa, Av. Mem de Sá, 77 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2507 1976
One of the main bars responsible for revitalizing the once crumbling Lapa, Rio Scenarium is the region’s most frequented bar. Its lavishly decorated walls of antiques create a sophisticated interior, yet the live shows of samba, forro and MPB create a carefree and fun atmosphere. It also has a wonderful gastronomical edge with a diverse menu and imported beers.
Rio Scenarium, R. do Lavradio, 20 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 3147 9000
Boteco Carioquinha’s cozy, pub style creates a charming environment to enjoy some of the 250 types of craft beer on offer. The good food is a hit among regulars, with its homemade mustard the talk of the town. Yet it’s the friendly and smiling service that attracts a loyal crowd that keep coming back for more.
Offering a break from traditional samba with regular rock and metal nights, Lapa Irish Pub is a hub for backpackers and locals and an easy spot to meet and socialize with fellow travelers. The historic architecture helps to create the pub-vibe of a classic Irish establishment and the weekdays are almost just as packed as the weekends with daily promotions and regular events.
Lapa Irish Pub, R. Evaristo da Veiga, 147 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 (21) 97020 0728
Being set in a four-story mansion makes Choperia Brazooka one of the biggest bars in Lapa. The pool tables provide self-entertainment between groups of party-goers at the start of the night, before the live bands of samba and MPB begin their performances. The classic boteco (Brazilian bar) food is peppered with more fancy options such as roasted lamb and picanha hamburgers.
Choperia Brazooka, Av. Mem de Sá, 70 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2226 9691