Hanging out at off-the-beaten path Rio de Janeiro bar and clubs is often the best way to get a real taste of carioca culture. By avoiding the tourist hordes, you'll avoid bumped-up bar prices too, and you'll be bound to attract friendly curiosity from the locals.
There's no need to head too far off-track in order to discover these often overlooked spots - often they are within spitting distance of more touristy locations.
Up in the hills of Santa Teresa, for example, by staying on the tram until the end of the Paulo Mattos line instead of jumping off at the main bar and restaurant strip, yuo'll end up at Largo das Neves. This picturesque square is perfect for sidewalk drinking at Goyabeira, or, from Thursday through Saturday, sipping the wonderfully cheap, delicious and head-swimmingly powerful cocktails at Barraca do Jorginho. ANd it doesn't get more off-the-beaten track than Lagoinha, a club high on a mountainside that allows you to get a close up view of the Christ statue.
The residential areas of Laranjeiras and Botafogo are also packed with good off-the-beaten-track nightlife options, including the hip Casa Rosa and eclectic Cinematheque.
Estrada Joaquim Mamede 125
550 Rua Alice
Local favorite on Laranjeiras Hills... read more
Rua Voluntários da Pátria 53
Rua Tavares Bastos 414