Rio de Janeiro Nightlife Guide

From the dramatic landscapes and beautiful beaches, to the heart pounding dance music and never ending street parties, Rio de Janeiro is one of the most alluring and exciting places I’ve ever experienced.

You’ve seen images of Copacabana Beach, Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, but there’s another side to the Marvelous City that’s not to be missed.

The lifeblood of Rio is its unparalleled ability to celebrate life, and thanks to that, you can find a festa (party) any night of the week.

While living in Rio de Janeiro, I went out and discovered some of the best things to do on a nightly basis, and documented my research to make you jealous show you where to go out in the city.

Here is my Rio de Janeiro Nightlife Guide – including some tips at the bottom to make sure you have a safe and successful night out. If you can’t watch the video above, click here to watch it via YouTube.

Monday – Pedra do Sal

In the downtown neighborhood of Saúde, you will find the historic site of Pedra do Sal. The area was originally settled on by Afro-Brazilians, and it’s considered to be the birthplace of Samba. Nowadays, on Monday and Friday nights, it’s home to a great street party with live music and street vendors.

Tuesday – Gavea

To be honest, there isn’t a ton of options on Tuesday night, but the best one is definitely in Gávea at the Zero Zero club. The club offers a laid back seating area outside and an epic dance floor inside, and a DJ usually follows a great live music set.

Expect early drink specials and lots of gringos on Tuesday night at Zero Zero.

Wednesday –  Botafogo

With a diverse selection of bars and clubs, Botafogo is the place to be in on a Wednesday night.  As you can see from the video, definitely don’t miss Karaoke night at Casa de Matriz!

Best Bars in Botafogo: Casa de Matriz, Bukowski, Ovelha Negra, Meza Bar

Thursday – Baixo Gávea

University Students flood the streets of Baixo Gavea on Thursday (and Sunday) nights to enjoy some drinks and let off a little steam.

Best Bars in Gávea/Baixo Gávea: Bar do Alemão, BG Bar, Bar e Restaurante Hipódromo, Garota da Gávea, Braseiro da Gávea

Friday – Lapa

The heart of Rio Nightlife is in the downtown area of Lapa. You can pre-game in the streets and listen to all the great live music outside and then head into one of the popular Lapa night clubs like Lapa 40 or Rio Scenarium.

And as recommended in the video, if you have the opportunity, go see a concert at Fundição Progresso – Monobloco in particular if possible (check show dates).

Saturday – Samba School

You can easily go back to back nights in Lapa, but my absolute favorite party in all of Rio de Janeiro is at one of the city’s amazing samba schools. Most schools do weekly “fundraisers” for the community to raise money for Carnaval and it is just one big party.

Salgueiro is featured in the video, but I also frequent Vila Isabel for a great party.

Sunday – Beach / Santa Teresa / Urca

If you’re still alive on Sunday, you have a few options…

Option #1 – You could go to the beach and relax with the crowd, re-hydrate with some coconut water, and watch the sunset from Arpoador.

Option #2 – Go to Santa Teresa, eat a traditional Feijoada and watch the sunset from Hotel Santa Teresa.

Option #3 – Go down to my favorite neighborhood in all of Rio, Urca, to drink a few beers with friends along the Marina and enjoy the views.

Best Bars in Santa Teresa: Bar do Mineiro, Armazém São Thiago (Bar do Gomez), Largo das Neves, Simplesmente

Best Bars in Urca: Bar Urca

——- Rio de Janeiro Nightlife Guide – Bar Etiquette ——-

Cover Charge – Don’t forget about the cover charge when you are in a live music place and there is often a 10% service charge when you are being served at a table. Also, check how much the entrance fee is before you arrive.

Drink Cards – In many bars (Zero Zero), you will be given a drink card and you pay for everything with that card. At the end of the night you go to the cashier and pay your tab. DO NOT loose this card or it usually comes with a big fee!

I.D. – Carry a copy of your passport with you at night (all the time). I take out my U.S. drivers license and passport copy, DO NOT bring out your original passport.

Dress Code – Corner bars and street parties are as casual as it gets (shirtless is cool), but that doesn’t fly in the nightclubs – shoes, pants and shirts are a must.

——- Rio de Janeiro Nightlife Guide – Additional Info ——-

There are many other great neighborhoods for Rio Nightlife like Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Leblon, Lagoa, Jardim Botanico and more. Here is some additional information to help you decide on where to go out in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Going Out in Rio de Janeiro via Gringo-Rio

Top 10 Neighborhood Bars in Rio de Janeiro via The Guardian

Rio de Janeiro Restaurant and Bars Guide via

Rio de Janeiro Nightclubs via TimeOut

——- You May Also Like ——-

Brazil Carnival Video

Party with Vila Isabel Samba School

Brazil Carnival in Photos

Istanbul Nightlife Guide

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


  1. Kezza – I cant tell you what reading that blog meant to me pearlnsloy. I love you both to the moon and back and I am so absolutely proud of you both. One day you will be close enough to visit, or have coffee or shop together often, God willing. I love the promo such a great job .and of course our Lee family photos hope it is a tradition and lives on a lot longer than I do. mum

  2. Losing your passport / getting it stolen can really suck, never take it out with you! You’ll have to report it ASAP and submit a form (DS-64, which you can actually do online unlike all other passport services…).

    You’ll also lose all your stamps :(.

    I thought I had lost my passport once but it was just hidden better than I thought in my bag, makes you very, very cautious in the future.

  3. Excellent ideas ! Coincidentally , if anyone requires a DS-64 , my husband filled out and faxed a template version here

  4. Hello, Gareth. Thanks for this amazing guide to nightlife in Rio de Janeiro. This city is one of the sexiest and hottest regions in the world. Thanks a lot, Gareth. Keep sharing your travel experience with us!

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