‘Nightlife’ and ‘Brazil’ are synonyms of each other. The explosion of energy and happiness when the sun sets will be one of your enduring memories of this country. Indeed, any night which finishes before the sun comes up is generally considered nothing short of tame. Whereas people in the West tend to be out for about 8pm, you won’t see Brazilians begin the night before 11pm.
The Brazilians are as passionate about their music as they are about their national football team, and everywhere you go you’ll find dance clubs, live music venues, bars and discos. And failing all of those, spontaneous street parties.
Naturally the best nightlife in Brazil is to be found in its cities. Rio is an obvious hotspot and probably where you’ll have your first experience. Copacabana comes alive at night, as do the neighbourhoods of Ipanema and Lapa.
In all cities you’ll find all of the following types of venue.
These little pop-up style bars are perfect for some pre-drinking. They’re usually located on street corners and as well as alcohol sell snacks.
For something a little more upmarket you’ll find bars, restaurants and clubs everywhere. The line between bars and restaurants can be a bit hazy at times, but in any case you won’t go thirsty. Some of the bigger, more established clubs don’t differ too much to the ones you’d find in the West. The payment system, however, differs, in that you’ll be handed a card when you enter. This will have a list of all the drinks; you tick what you want, hand it to the barman who will stamp it, and then you pay for everything together when you leave. Don’t lose your card – you’ll be hit with a heavy fine.
Street parties offer one of the ultimate nightlife experiences in Brazil. It’s not uncommon for entire blocks to be dedicated to these get-togethers and they usually feature a good mix of local people and tourists, depending on the area.
Serious kudos awaits if you make it to a baile funk party. These originated in Rio’s favelas (slums) and are now a staple of favela culture. The local gangs will provide the security and you can only really get into one if invited by a local.