Lapa is one of the hot spots to go out at night in Rio de Janeiro. We went out there on Friday night and it was already pretty crowded just after 22h (10 PM). All the bars were packed and the clubs still empty.
The first place we went into was La Esquina (website) where we had a couple of drinks and danced. I’m not sure if it always happens but the drinks were STRONG. We left there by 12:30 even though it was starting to fill at that time.
Next we went to a club that I don’t know the name of. It was only a few buildings down from La Esquina and a lot of people staying in hostels were there. They had live samba music for a while and then we left there sometime in the 2 AM hour.
We spent a bit of time in the streets as it is packed with people. By 2 AM I was questioning how cars were still driving on the street there but they were. My friend and I decided that we probably enjoyed being out on the streets more than in any of the buildings. We were standing outside of a club across the street from La Esquina because the music was also playing outside. It seemed that a lot of people were also doing the same thing.
In general, Lapa seems to be especially popular for people who are just interested in going there and hanging out on the street. I don’t blame them. The bars get crowded very easily so you have to arrive extra early for that and the clubs are a bit expensive. We ended up paying R$40 each for each of the clubs we went into. That’s R$80!!!
I would say that if you went to Lapa and stayed on the streets, you would still have a great night.
If you go under the aqueducts, there are a bunch of tents set up and selling food in case you get hungry or don’t want/can’t find a spot in a bar.