Tag Archives: Lapa

Eat, Drink and Be Merry In Rio

10 Nov

For those of you who know and love the ‘Marvellous City’, it may come as no surprise that it was recently voted the world’s happiest city in a survey conducted for and published by Forbes.com. Rio has an infectious energy, a buzz that imbues you with a feel-good vibe for weeks after you leave. Music and dancing plays a good part in that but happiness also comes from eating and drinking well, and Rio certainly has no shortages of fantastic eateries and bars that enable you to lead the good life. Discover the best that Rio has to offer and eat, drink and be merry!


One of Rio’s more affluent neighbourhoods, Leblon is home to some of Rio’s best restaurants and bars. This area is a foodie’s heaven but if your wallet doesn’t quite match your taste buds, most restaurants offer a lunchtime three-course, pre-fix menu for a fraction of the price that you will be charged at dinner. One of the best, both for the quality of the Italian/Brazilian fusion food and the stunning decor, not to mention the great people-watching potential (the patrons are made up of Rio’s young and beautiful), is Zuka. Either pre- or post-dinner, head on down to the Academia da Cachaça, a Leblon institution which sells 500 types of cachaça, a Brazillian rum made from sugar cane.

Leblon Beach[flickr size=”small”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/nosdamontanha/12637965/


The beach is lined with some of the best hotels in Rio de Janeiro and sun-worshippers and surfers flock to Ipanema at the weekend. There are plenty of eating and drinking options on the beach itself but you can’t visit Ipanema without having a drink in Bar Garota de Ipanema. In its previous incarnation as Vellosa Bar, ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ was penned here, hence the reason for its change of name. Once you’ve had a drink or two and hummed along to the classic bossa nova song, indulge in a Brazilian feast at Porcão, a traditional churrascaria where you can eat as much barbecued meat as you can fit in!


This district in the Centro neighbourhood houses some architecturally beautiful buildings dating back to the emergence of the republic but it’s when the sun goes down that the area really comes to life, for Lapa is also known for its nightlife. Clubs, bars and restaurants fill with the sounds of samba music but one of the best is surely Café Sacrilégio. Samba, choro, maxixe, waltz and polka beats are all played by the brilliant live band in this cafe housed in a renovated heritage building. Line your stomach and fuel up in preparation for all that dancing at Nova Capela, for some typical Carioca cuisine.

Rio is bursting with excellent places to chow down and drink up, whether you’re after something upmarket at a a Michelin star restaurant in a Rio de Janeiro hotel, or a simple salad and a Caipirinha at a beachfront cafe. Eat like a king, have a few drinks and pull on your dancing shoes to end the perfect Rio night with a spot of salsa.

Rio de Janeiro's carnival never really stops

20 Feb

Today (Saturday) is the winners parade for Rio carnival, finishing off the carnival week that started on Monday with the opening parades. It feels like the city is in meltdown. All my friends that have been living in Rio for the past week seem like wrecks. It’s not too surprising, there just never seems to be an end to the parties. Although most Carnival packages only run from Monday to Friday there are plenty of parties and parades still to be had going into the weekend and which will carry on next week. Plus, Rio has pretty much been the hottest place in the world over the last two weeks. Well, I say hottest, it’s actually been the second hottest, only beaten by Ada, a small town in Eastern Ghana. Recorded temperatures were 40 degress, though the lack of wind made it seem like 50 degrees. Right now I am doing an impression of an exasperated tap and it’s only 32, I can’t imagine what it was like last week, but I’m guessing it probably felt like you were really hot flannel that constantly needed wringing out.


I’m also certain this is probably one of the worst times ever to go to Rio. Maybe there are non-stop parties to choose from, and a ridiculous amount thereof, as well as constant parades and soundsystems going through the streets, but the thieves are also on the warpath. One of the hostels, Che Lagarto, got robbed two nights ago by 8 thieves with guns. Last night, down the road from the club I went to a man was stabbed to death. I also spoke to two people in the hostel I stayed in last night who were robbed by tiny children carrying broken bottles in the streets of Lapa. With so many drunk gringos carrying money around it’s a complete haven for the poorer factions of Rio.

The fact that I’ll be staying in Lapa then, where all of these things happened, for the next couple of nights might not seem too smart then. I’ve never had any trouble though and am pretty certain that if you don’t get into such a state that you can easily be robbed and generally don’t walk around with some ridiculously bad Hollyoaks-style caption-led t-shirt, while mouthing loudly in an American accent, that you won’t get robbed.

Crackdown in Lapa

11 Aug

Lapa’s crazy on a Saturday night so we headed away from the arches, where the noise of drums, samba and drunk gringos is inescapable. First stop was The Museum of Cachaça. It’s a room about 10 foot x 10 foot. Hanging from the ceiling is a brand of cachaça from possibly every town in Brazil. Normally, there would be seats and tables surrounding its entrance but the Police are out in force. There´s a new mayor and he´s brought with him 2 initiatives. First is the ´dry law´. Random checks are happening all over the city as they look to combat drink driving. Although the drivers are fighting back. They´ve found out a new use for Twitter. There are dozens of people using their iPhones (or whatever the equivalant is in Rio) posting updates on where the ´dry law´ police are stopping cars every night. The second new initiative is to stop bars placing a ridiculous amount of tables and chairs on the pavement and quite often on the road as they look to get as many customers comfortable as is humanely possible.

We didn´t fancy standing in the street so we decided to look elsewhere. After a few blocks we came to a brothel-themed bar. I can´t remember its Portuguese name but I was told it translated as ´House of the Whore´. The waiters wore red and white vertical-striped tops and there was lingerie hanging from the ceiling. I don´t remember seeing any whores. We signalled for three people and the waiter lifted up a table, planting it right in front of us. We grabbed a beer and sat down. After drinking about half of it, 5 police cars suddenly pulled up alongside us. The waiter instantly ran over, took our table and flew off round the back. Some guy wearing glasses and a huge belly came out of the bar, heading straight for the cops. I think he was the owner. He was desperately trying to avoid what I can only assume was a massive fine. The waiter came back over saying ´I told you not to put that table there.´ Cheeky bastard. There was no way we were paying the 10% service charge after that. No way mister!

Partied out? But it's only Thursday!

20 Mar

I’ve just woken up. Well, that’s kind of a lie. I woke up a while ago wretching from the lack of any liquid in my body, scrambled around in front of me for loose change, dived out the house, ran to a cashpoint, found the cashpoint wasn’t working, ran back to the house, got more bank cards, returned to bank, cashpoint still wasn’t working, told by the attendant that cashpoint wasn’t working, found another cashpoint, got cash, bought drink, felt better and then started writing this.

We went to four parties last night. I got home as Glenda set off for work. Friday and Saturday are still to come!