While Rio’s vibe is quite gay friendly, few specifically gay venues exist. GLS (a Brazilian slang term for gay, lesbica, e simpatisante; i.e., gay friendly) spaces rule, with gays, lesbians, and heteros mixing socially. For more info about Rio’s gay scene, visit www.riogaylife.com.
Cine Ideal (Rua da Carioca 62, tel. 21/2221-1984, 11:30pm-close Fri.-Sat., cover R$25-30) is a disco with bars and a rooftop lounge.
The Week (Rua Sacadura Cabral 150, Saúde, tel. 21/2253-1020, midnight-close Sat., cover R$40-60) is a more massive and upscale São Paulo import.
Buraco da Lacraia (Rua André Cavalcanti 58, tel. 21/2221-1984, 11pm-close Fri.-Sat., cover R$30-40) showcases drag shows, videoke contests, snooker, and electronic games. The beer is fantastically cheap.
The high-profile strip of Ipanema beach stretching from Posto 8 to Posto 9 (nicknamed “Farme Gay”) is home to beach barracas flying rainbow flags and the toned outlines of well-oiled “Barbies” (as muscle men are called). The street perpendicular to the beach, Rua Farme de Amoedo also attracts a gay crowd.
Tô’Nem Aí (Rua Farme de Amoedo 87-A, tel. 21/2247-8403, noon-3am daily) is a laid-back bar that draws a mixed crowd and offers great views of the action.
Galeria Café (Rua Teixeira de Melo 31, tel. 21/2523-8250, 10:30pm-close Wed.-Sat., noon-8pm Sun., cover R$28-38), one street over, is a hip, hybrid space sheltering a café and art gallery. At night, it holds sizzling festas that reel in a trendy crowd.
The gay crowd has conquered a prize strip of beach on the doorstep of the Copacabana Palace, baptized “Praia da Bolsa” (Handbag Beach).
The Rainbow (noon-close daily) kiosk is a haven for Rio’s transgendered community, who often perform in between caipis and pizza slices.
Le Boy (Rua Raul Pompéia 102, tel. 21/2513-4993, 11pm-close Tues.-Sun., cover R$15-25) is Rio’s classic and notorious temple of gaydom. This enormous club offers go-go boys, a quarto escuro (dark room), and Tuesday’s Strip Nights.
La Cueva (Rua Miguel Lemos 51, tel. 21/2267-1367, 11pm-close, R$20) means “The Cave,” which describes this dim, yet friendly basement lair where the entrance fee earns you two drinks.
Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Brazil.