"Lapa District, the "Montmartre Carioca”" Arcos da Lapa Tip by Alless

Arcos da Lapa, Rio de Janeiro: 11 reviews and 19 photos

by Alless

The Lapa Arches, located in the Largo da Lapa Square,the center of Rio’s turn-of-the-century nightlife, hold their place in history as the most monumental work undertaken in colonial Rio. This magnificent structure contains 42 arches in two tiers. It was originally built in the 18th century colonial period as an aqueduct to supply the city with water, today they carry another outstanding attraction: the scenic tramlines linking the Carioca Station downtown to the picturesque Santa Teresa district. Lapa, the district of the Arcos (aqueduct arches), is the only one in Rio that can aggregate various musical trends without obfuscating any genre or artist. It is a stage for samba lyrics, for Northeastern sounds and the modernity of electronic music. There, in downtown Rio, along Mem de Sá, Riachuleo and Lavradio streets, they all co-exist in perfect harmony.

Since the early 50s Lapa has been one of the major references for nightlife in Rio. With its famous cabarets and restaurants, it was then known as the “Montmartre Carioca”, frequented by the cream of the artistic, intellectual, political and diplomatic circles. To this day Lapa throbs with life. City Hall has already restored part of the district, preserving as much as possible of the original architecture from the beginning of the 20th century, which characterizes the place. Visually it is a collection of historical constructions such as the Arcos da Lapa (Lapa Arches), Passeio Público (Public Promenade), Escola Nacional de Música (National Musica School) and Igreja de N. Sra. Da Lapa (Church of Our Lady of Lapa), veritable icons of Old Rio.
But it is when night falls that Lapa shows why it has established itself as a cultural attraction of Rio. Sala Cecília Meireles (Cecília Meireles Hall), considered to be the best venue for chamber music concerts in the city, shares the street with bar Asa Branca, where the malandro (bohemian rascal) goes for popular music. Bars such as Semente and do Ernesto feature the most carioca version of the samba, the chorinho. Those who favor rodas de samba (ring samba) should visit Emporium 100 and Rio Scenarium, which are antique stores during the day. The same musical styles are also present in Carioca da Gema, Casa da Mãe Joana and Dama da Noite.
The beats of house, techno and other modern rhythms, as well as shows with major MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) artists, can be enjoyed at Fundição Progresso and often at open-air events under one of the arches that is used as both roof and setting. While restaurants such as Nova Capela, Manoel e Joaquim and Bar Brasil guarantee to cater for the gastronomic needs of the night.

Address: Lapa

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Mar 1, 2008
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