The best and most interesting nights out in Rio de Janeiro are the ones that take place in underground venues that are off the beaten track. Whether you want all-female samba bands presenting traditional Brazilian music with a twist or electronic beats until the break of dawn, these best secret nightclubs in Rio de Janeiro set the scene for a memorable night out.
Located in the arty neighborhood Laranjeiras, Casa Rosa attracts a liberal and casual crowd who go there on Fridays and Saturdays to drink, socialize, and listen to live music. After closing for a couple of years, its reopening has been a success and it has managed to create a party-oriented environment with an outdoor space for dancing and chatting, an indoor ‘dark room’ for the live DJs who play Carioca funk and electronic music, and another space for karaoke. Try their famous ‘Matte’ with vodka cocktail.
Located in the Tavares Bastos favela near Catete, The Maze takes its name from the labyrinth of corridors decorated with a handmade mosaic pattern that twist and wind throughout the venue. The casual atmosphere there makes it easy to meet new people and spend the night sipping caipirinhas while chatting with new and old friends alike. If you want to dance, just head to the indoor space where a live band plays Brazilian or jazz and blues classics. Head there early to get a seat on the outdoor patio to take in the stunning view of Guanabara Bay.
Instituto Cultural Ruinas in Rio de Janeiro’s city center is a cultural space that promotes alternative events and music shows. Located in an aging building, the atmosphere is casual and relaxed attracting an alternative, open-minded crowd. Past events there include a live performance fromSamba que Elas Querem, an all-female samba band which is a rare sight as the samba genre in Brazil is typically male-dominated. The drinks options include beer and delicious caipirinhas.
Centro is home to the biggest and most LGBT friendly venues in Rio de Janeiro. The Week Rio is one of these nightlife spots and has two dance floors with a capacity for 2,000 people. Full of color and riddled with fancy dress, The Week Rio is the perfect place to wear your fanciest outfit and tackle the night in a welcoming, liberal place. With parties that rarely stop before 9am, it is one of the most intense, anything-goes nightclubs in town.
This small venue is LGBT-friendly and plays 90s pop with classic music videos screened on large TV screens. It’s loud and in-your-face yet that’s what sets the scene for a memorable and fun night out there. Drag queens will welcome you through the door where you can go straight to the bar to drink classic caipirinhas, a selection of beers, or colorful cocktails with umbrellas. The poles are there for the go-go shows yet towards the end of the night, it’s free for anyone to have a swing around.
Located in the heart of Ipanema and just a short walk from the beach, Galeria Cafe is a laid-back nightclub with a great selection of cocktails and live music. During the day, it hosts pop-up shops for alternative fashion and the occasional jewelry-making workshop. It attracts a mixed crowd thanks to its focus on diversity and inclusion, which has led it to become one of Ipanema’s main socializing spots for the LGBT crowd yet they are welcome to everybody that is open-minded and is looking for a good time.
Boate La Cueva attracts a diverse crowd from young to more mature audience (40 years plus) and is a popular nightlife spot for the LGBT community as well as people looking for a fun night out in a liberal, out-going environment. The interior is designed like a cave to create a unique and cozy venue. Live DJs play 80s and 90s music all night and there is a wide selection of different beers and cocktails.