Samba as we know today developed in Rio de Janeiro approximately one hundred years ago.
There are several theories about the origin of the word samba. It probably stems from the Angolan words semba (belly dancing) or samba (excited). Despite new styles of music, such as r’n’b, baile funk, and electro, samba has not lost a lot of its popularity.
At least not in Rio de Janeiro, where the lines to gain entry to the most popular clubs are still long. We have figured out how to avoid these lines, and which clubs are popular.
1. Rio Scenarium
Rio Scenarium is the most beautiful samba club in Rio de Janeiro, decorated with magnificent, antique furniture and exquisite works of art. You certainly don’t have to tiptoe; you can definitely live it up in the club.
The waiting line to get into the club, which is often more than an hour, proves the tremendous popularity of the club. Make sure to get there before 22.00 or after 01.00 to avoid this. If there already is a long line, start your party on the street and order a take-away caipirinha in one of the bars in the Rua Lavradio.
Address: Rua do Lavradio 20, Lapa
2. Lapa 40 Graus
The extremely popular Lapa 40 Graus consists of three stories, just as Rio Scenarium, with live music being played on the ground floor. A remarkable feature of the club is the snooker hall, where you can play in-between dancing.
Address: Riachuelo 93, Lapa
3. Café Cultural Sacrilégio
The slightly cozier Sacrilégio is located in the former home of musician João Pernambuco (1883 – 1947), where pioneers of samba, such as Pixinguinha (1897 – 1973), visited on a regular basis. The present owners have tried to recreate the atmosphere of that time with the furnishings in the club. As far as we’re concerned, they absolutely succeeded.
Address: Avenida Mem de Sá 81, Lapa
4. Carioca da Gema
The neighbor of Café Cultural Sacrilégio is just as nice and cozy. We have no preference. Compare the entrance fee you have to pay and the band involved in order to make a choice.
Address: Avenida Mem de Sá 79 in Lapa
Obligation to carry identification (ID)
For the above-mentioned clubs, you must present a valid ID to identify yourself at the door, and your drinks and food are put on a ticket which you have to pay at the end of the evening. So, it is recommended not to lose this.