Music is the fabric of daily life in Rio de Janeiro, a city where the musical rhythms course endlessly through the streets putting an unshakeable bounce in anyone’s step. Say “Rio” and it’s usually samba and bossa nova that comes to mind, yet the city has a thriving jazz scene from a host of talented jazz performers. We round up our favorite places to go for a night of jazz in Rio.
Tucked away just off the main street of party district Lapa, TribOz provides somewhat of a sanctuary from the region’s gritty, underground scenes. The décor, food and wine menu reflect the roots of the Australian owner and sets the scene for a memorable night out. Live music is of the essence at TribOz, yet its heart truly lies in jazz. Even if you’re not into dancing, the great Australian wine and seductive jazz notes create a wonderful atmosphere for an evening out in town.
TribOz, Rua Conde de Lages, 19 – Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2210 0366
The surrounding palm trees and rustic settings inside Bangalô create a cosy and relaxed environment, and the delicious seafood offerings on the menu add to its appeal. Throughout the week, the restaurant-bar hosts live music performances with a heavy emphasis on jazz, a personal preference of the owner Barbara Mendes who is a renowned jazz singer in her own right.
Bangalô, Av. Lúcio Costa, 1976 – Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2493 0313
Esch La Casa Del Habano
The elegant décor lined with wooden details create the appropriate setting for a bar that sells Cuban cigars and locally-brewed beer. Esch sets the scene for those looking for a sophisticated evening out with a delicate, accomplished menu, and the soft yet rhythmic notes of live jazz add to the graceful ambience. Some of the city’s finest jazz bands play here throughout the week.
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Esch, Rua Dias Ferreira, 78 A – Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2512 5651
Sat at the peak of the community Tavares Bastos, the area lends The Maze privileged views over Guanabara Bay and features a backdrop to remember. The venue itself is a labyrinth of winding corridors and sudden staircases, decorated in a handmade mosaic pattern. Although known to play a mix of genres, it’s for jazz that The Maze is famous with both established and upcoming jazz singers performing for the eager, young crowd on the weekends.
The Maze, R. Tavares Bastos, 414 – Casa 66 – Catete, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2558 5547
The exposed brickwork and dimly lit setting adds to the cosy and intimate vibe of this bar. Its small size means that the venue gets crowded on weekends, although reservations can be made in advance. The bar plays host to a wide range of musicians, including some of Rio’s best jazz musicians that perform unforgettable shows.
Bar Semente, R. Evaristo da Veiga, 149 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2507 5188
In addition to being a sports ground with football pitches, tennis courts and swimming pools, Clube dos Macacos (officially Clube 17 but often referred to as Clube dos Macacos) transforms into a restaurant-bar in the evening. The surrounding exotic vegetation of Jardim Botanico, creates a pleasant and exclusive feel. The restaurant serves good, honest food and ice-cold drinks, and hosts regular nights with live jazz bands.
A former colonial mansion, Carioca da Gema is a key meeting point in Lapa for some of the best musicians in the city from samba and choro, to bossa nova and jazz. The regional significance of samba has lent jazz some of the local samba beats, creating an uplifting genre of samba-jazz that is often played live at Carioca da Gema. The great food, moreish cocktails and wonderful music provide everything for a great night out.
Carioca da Gema, Av. Mem de Sá, 79 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2221 0043
Nova Lapa Jazz
One of the most exciting jazz bands on the scene, Nova Lapa Jazz unites two fantastic elements – a jazz band that brings both local and international jazz tunes, and outdoor street parties. Rotating between the Lapa arches and near to Praca Tiradentes in Rio’s city center, musicians spontaneously play various tunes to the large crowds that gather there. Drinks are bought from local street sellers from Brazilian beers to strong caipirinhas in plastic cups, adding to the casual, friendly vibe this street party brings.
Being one of Rio’s most famous nightclubs, news of Rio Scenarium has gone beyond Brazil making it one of the most popular nightlife venues among both locals and travelers. Each floor is richly decorated with antiques and vintage items, adding to the elegance of the venue. The balconies on each floor overlook the main stage so the star band of the night can be seen from any place. Rio Scenarium hosts many genres of music – often with several bands playing at once – including chorro, samba, bossa nova, and of course, jazz.
Rio Scenarium, R. do Lavradio, 20 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 3147 9000
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