Originating from Africa and brought to Brazil via the West African slave trade, samba has become one of the most popular pastimes in South America. Lavish street parties, jewel-encrusted bikinis, blurs of shaking hips and metre-high feather crowns are just some of the things you can expect from samba parties. But don’t wait for the famous Carnaval do Brasil to try it out for yourself – we’ve found some of the best samba bars in Brazil.
Bip Bip, Rio de Janeiro
Party with local musicians and singers
Located in Copacabana, Bip Bip is a true Brazilian boteco (pub) oozing with Rio spirit. The walls are crowded with uneven picture frames of newspaper cutouts and posters, and a sign that translates to ‘A traditional meeting point for samba players of the old and new generation’ is proudly hung on the wall for all to see. This charming, pokey bar attracts locals of all sorts, from professionals, semi-professionals, local musicians and singers. But it’s still laid-back enough that you can help yourself to the plentiful supply of beers in the fridge and pay your tab at the end of the evening – just make sure to bring cash. After an evening of dancing shoulder-to-shoulder, relish in the cool breeze on the rooftop at Américas Copacabana Hotel, just 500 metres from Copacabana Beach.
Boteco da Dona Tati, São Paulo
Dance to the local jazz-inspired samba
Boteco da Dona Tati is a popular local haunt, so if you see people overflowing onto the sidewalk enjoying an ice-cold beer, you’re in the right place. Stripped back and atmospheric, there is a friendly familiarness between the crowd and the troupe of local musicians. And once the jazz-inspired samba starts, the energy in the room is instantly electric. Before heading to bed, soak up the night’s adventures at Apartamento Triplex Place Vendome with its sauna, hammam, solarium and private hot tub.
Clube dos Democráticos, Rio De Janeiro
Prepare yourself for the hypnotic rhythm
Nestled in the centre of Rio De Janeiro, Clube dos Democráticos is the oldest carnival society in Brazil and still welcomes a mixed crowd. The tall ceilings of this Art Deco ballroom are in stark contrast to the humble white plastic chairs and tables that constellate the dancefloor. Once the band’s hypnotic rhythm starts to play, you will be on your feet dancing Forro and Samba for hours on end. The best evenings to visit are Thursday through to Saturday and prepare yourself for a late one as the party won’t start until at least 10pm. Once the last song plays, make your way back to Windsor Guanabara – this four-star hotel is the best place to relax and you can even recover poolside the next day.
Teresa & Jorge, Fortaleza
Enjoy the venue's signature Samba Carioca and fresh crab
The Teresa and Jorge bar is known as one of the more traditional bars in Fortaleza. Cavernous doorways are left ajar to allow for the venue’s signature Carioca-style samba to be heard from the pavement where locals, lovers and a good mix of travellers huddle around small wooden tables. Make sure to order the freshly-caught crab while you’re here, its flavour is arguably as bold and vibrant as the atmosphere. Finish the evening at Golden Apartment - Modus Style, where sweeping sea views can be enjoyed from the comforts of your room.
Largo Pedro Arcanjo, Salvador
Celebrate with live music and large crowds
Largo Pedro Arcanjo is a simple event space set in the centre of Salvador. Historically, this was the place where sugar plantation slaves were punished or sold. Thankfully, it couldn’t be further from its dark past as the space is now used to celebrate diversity with live music and art performances. Once the samba starts pumping, the crowd adopt a frenetic energy that makes for a raucous and enthralling night. Couple that with a cool breeze and the open space, and you’ve got perfect conditions to dance through the night. Make your way back to Hotel Deville Prime Salvador, where you can take a morning dip in the outdoor pool before finally calling it a night.