The clubs found in this guide are usually frequented by Rio’s elite, 20 to 35 year olds. Clubs tend to be for the singles crowd, where they go to not be single for that night. Cariocas like to arrive at clubs very late and most start around midnight, some even after 1am (Casa da Matriz, La Paz) This doesn’t mean that everyone is at home waiting for the clock to strike twelve. Instead, they pre-party at the nearest botequim to warm up.
There is no alcohol curfew, so bars and clubs close as soon as the house starts to empty. Since Cariocas are sun worshippers and have a beautiful day at the beach to look forward to, most places are empty by 5am.
These are places where different tribes congregate to hang out in the street, obviously with a beer in hand, where you’ll probably find a younger college crowd. These are a great option if you want to talk to other Brazilians and the events are easy on your wallet, as there is never any entrance charge and beers aren’t marked-up.
We’ve listed the places with Brazilian music being performed by local musicians. No international pop or big concerts found here. Although these places offer a great cultural experience, they tend not to attract single people, especially during the week.
These are places where you can sit and enjoy a conversation with your friends over drinks and bar finger-foods. Similarly, some of these are great for couples looking to get away from meat-markets and wanting a more casual evening.
Bar Hopping Areas
With the exception of Lapa and the south side of Leblon, there are very few bar-hopping areas in Rio. If, however, you want to paint the town red and visit several spots in one night, we recommend hiring a guide instead of cabbing back and forth.
There are hardly any luaus in Rio, as Cariocas mysteriously tend to stay away from the beach at night (it could be a safety thing or the moisture ruining girls’ hair). Your chances of finding one are limited to January and February, when the weather is hot enough.
Consumption Card System
The control card most clubs hand you as you walk in is called a consumption card. The bartender marks on it what you
order. Before leaving the place, you go to the cashier and pay for everything you had. This way, you don’t have to handle money during your night, nor do you need to tip in excess. They will add 10% as an automatic tip for the waiter. Note: Do not lose the card as they will fine you over R$300 to allow you to leave their establishment if you do.
The potential for approaching someone (or being approached by someone) is rated here based on our personal experiences. From 1(mostly couples) to 5 (mostly singles out on the hunt).