The Ultimate guide to “local’s Rio de Janeiro”
Hi there, backpackers! My name is Philipe, I work in Brothers Hostel, Rio de Janeiro – Brazil. We are currently developing a series of unusual guides to Rio. Of course you can easily find information about the Sugar Loaf, but did you know there’s a bar just near it that sells one of the best shrimp “pastéis” you can find in the whole country? Backpackers are always looking for “the road less travelled”, therefore, we’ll do our best to give you tips that only a born carioca could give.
This first guide will tell you about the non-touristic part of the city. Lots of foreigners find difficulty finding the true cariocas cause there’s so many tourist attractions all over the city! And it’s such a huge city, anyway! Of course we strongly advise you to actually see the touristic places, but if you have, I don’t know, 4 nights, why don’t spend one of these in a 100% local environment? Well, here we go!
Sujinho – How about a university with a bar INSIDE it? Yes, it’s true. Sujinho is located in the middle of UFRJ (Praia Vermelha campus, watch out, there are several campus), it’s full of youth and excitement. First of all, it is a great example of Rio’s “botecos” (cheap bars spread all over the city), but the whole university thing makes it even better. But the special thing about Sujinho is that almost every Thursday (anybody that speaks Portuguese can check for you via Facebook), is samba day there. Non-professional, laid-back and college samba. Not as virtuoso as you can find in other places, but you’ll see how easy you can meet a ton of people in a single night if you just give it a chance.
SoKana – Besides the Forest area, Tijuca is not the most touristic place, especially cause it can be dangerous, so don’t fool around there. But if you go to Varnhagen Square, known as “Buxixo”, you’ll find one of the best bar spots in Rio (not dangerous at all). One of these is SoKana, for R$15,00 you’ll drink a liter of “batida” (multi-flavored, cachaça-based drinks, real good!). All sorts of flavors! My personal favorites are Luis XV (Louis the 15th), Divorcio (Divorce) and Quinta Dimensão (Fifth dimension).
Rotisseria Sírio-Libanesa – And now you think “why u sending me to a Lebanese restaurant? I’m in freaking Brazil!”. It is Syrian / Lebanese food, but with strong Brazilian spices and inspiration. It is located in Largo do Machado, a residential neighbor, good spot for you to have a look in the Brazilian “day by day”. Besides, the food is famous all around the city! I’d recommend the ½ portion of rice and lentil with 2 kaftas and a “mate da casa” ice tea (2 people meal – R$20,00).
Cobal / Biofá – Restaurants, bars, night clubs, everything you want for your entertainment is right there in Cobal. Just get there and randomly choose a table! There are so many options that if you drank a single beer in each place, you wouldn’t have time to go through all of em in one single night. And after that? Two blocks away from Cobal (not dangerous, you can walk even at night) there’s a tiny stall named Biofá. How about a 15cm hotdog for R$5,00 (various options of sausages and sauces). But, I warn you, if you have heart issues in your family’s history, avoid it (if you don’t, you just can’t miss it!).
Farani Road – 7 bars in a tiny street. All sorts of prices, all sorts of styles, all sorts of people. Just ask for a beer and have a look around, you’ll see just about every kind of person the city can offer (from cheesy executives to drunk students), all of em interacting. When you’re there, try to notice that the “Brazilian” has no common appearance as in most countries, many colors, races, curves, all together. Make sure you try 2 or 3 different bars, I recommend DaFoca, great pizzas and cheap beer.
Bar do Arnaldo – Famous among Brazilians, this is the place to EAT. Typical northern food and artisanal cachaças. For R$40,00, two people can eat a lot, seriously, a lot. Perhaps three could eat for that price, I ain’t joking, you won’t walk properly after that, be prepared. Everything is absolutely delicious, be sure to try their “macaxeira” and the pumpkin “farofa”. All recipes are family secrets, so you won’t find that taste anywhere else.
That’s it for the day, if you’re interested, just google or facebook Brothers Hostel for more information (forum owners and coordinators, I know I can’t advertise around here, that’s why I didn’t put a link to our website, if you think this paragraph went too far, please delete it, but please do keep the rest, what we intend to do here is simply stimulate the tourism in our city, we just like to express that we made that effort, but whoever likes it may use without any contact with us).
Keep checking for other guides!