Leblon is full of restaurants, cafes and bars, with an amazing beach and a pulsating nightlife.
Leblon, close to Ipanema, and sharing a beach with it, is divided into 2 distinct areas. While Upper or Alto Leblon is almost exclusively residential, Lower or Baixo Leblon is where the restaurants and gathering spots are located. This area, which used to be the heart of the bohemian movement in the 70’s and 80’s, is also a popular meeting spot for the youth to celebrate football match wins.
Botequim style cafes
Botequims are the local pubs of Brazil, serving alcohol and food, and are a great place to mingle with the locals who gather here to watch or discuss football matches, politics or just pass their time. Bracarense, which has been serving customers and visitors to Rio de Janeiro for over 50 years, is known for its jerked beef with onions and snacks like croquettes and small pies. Jobi, renowned for its feijoada has been around since 1956. Good news for late night party goers is that this café is open till 4.30 a.m.
The Farmers Market
Held every Thursday at Rua General Urquiza, a visit to the Leblon Farmers Market will allow you to see what the local produce is like. A great place to chat with the locals and get a feel for the culture, you will most probably be able to purchase home made cheese, jams, bread, cakes and a variety of other delicious condiments. The market begins early in the morning, and winds up once stocks are over, usually around 2pm.
Around Leblon Beach
This is one of the prettiest beaches in Rio de Janeiro. A long standing tradition and heart warming sight on sunny mornings is to see mothers bring their babies to a meeting point here, aptly known as Baixo Bebe. Evenings are the time to watch Capoeira being practiced at the beach. The sunset provides a dramatic backdrop against which to watch the agile moves of this famous Brazilian-African martial art.
Scala Rio was once at Leblon
The biggest carnival night club in Rio is Scala which is almost 40 years old. This famous place used to be located at Leblon, where today you will find Plataforma Restaurant. Every year Scala holds its famous Carnival Balls, with a different theme for every night of the Carnival. The City ball dedicated to the city of Rio de Janeiro is the biggest ball and features electronic as well as samba music, while the Gay Costume ball is probably the most well known and is broadcast all over the country. Nowadays Scala Rio is located downtown.
A pulsating nightlife
Probably not as energetic as the nightlife at Ipanema, but still able to hold its own, the most popular nightclubs in Leblon, besides Scala, are Plataforma – extremely popular with tourists – which puts on a samba and carnival show every night and Guapo Loco, a Mexican themed restaurant, bar and nightclub which is a favourite amongst the locals. Academia da Cachaca is a great place to sample Brazil’s famous national drink, while Melt is an upscale lounge bar with a small dance floor that mixes samba music with techno and hip-hop.