Flamengo and Botafogo
Both Flamengo and Botafogo are home to some of Rio’s most traditional watering holes, where you can eat and drink well while soaking up some authentic Carioca atmosphere.
A Flamengo favorite, Belmonte (Praia do Flamengo 300, Flamengo, tel. 21/2552-3349, 10 a.m.–4 a.m. daily) is a little more refined (pé limpo) than your average Carioca botequim—which perhaps explains its popularity. It gets so busy in the late afternoons that customers stand and balance their cups on barrels of beer. The empadas—with a variety of fillings—complement the icy chope. Although others have opened throughout the city, this original bar is the most atmospheric.
Located in an attractive old house, Casa da Matriz (Rua Henrique Novaes 107, Botafogo, tel. 21/2266-1014, www.casadamatriz.com.br, 11 p.m.–close Mon. and Wed.–Sat., cover R$10–25) hosts some of the most happening dance parties in town, courtesy of an eclectic roster of house DJs and a styling, alternative crowd with a proclivity for contemporary sounds. Monday’s A Maldita (“The Damned”) festas promise that you’ll begin the week feeling trashed. If you need a breather, check out the rotating photo exhibits or flake out in the lounge.
If you want to listen to live choro played outdoors in attractive surroundings, head to the pretty residential bairro of Laranjeiras, adjacent to Flamengo. On Saturdays, from 11 a.m.–close, the group Choro na Feira plays in the tree-shaded Praça da Rua General Glicério, where a colorful feira (open-air market) is held. To satiate your hunger and thirst, have a deep-fried pastel (a type of turnover) and an icy beer. On Sundays, starting at 11 a.m., it’s the turn of students from the Escola Portátil de Música to play in the attractive Praça São Salvador, also in Laranjeiras.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition