Rio’s lively Casa Guarani club celebrates its third decade

As a reputed 7,000-strong club, Rio’s Casa Guarani is a second home for its vibrant and diverse visitor community, whose lively nightlife is never short of action

When the smoky club of the Casa Guarani began to fill with music and punters through the late evening, things were already looking promising for this New Orleans-style Brazilian club. After decades playing host to the likes of Teixeira, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, this lavish nightclub, which has a beach location in downtown Rio, always has a lively crowd, but in 2016 they went wild for big-name DJ Eddie Palmieri, while the club was also so popular that it couldn’t cope with the influx.

When the ultra-cool DJ Butchka opened Cantiã 2 in 2016, he vowed to double the original venue’s clientele by bringing Brazilian artists and live music to the Latin Quarter. He and his cohorts at Casa Guarani have helped support locals on both sides of the Atlantic; Australian DJ Alejandro Gimenez and Brazil’s Motoinho, for example, are regular in the club’s weekend Sessions club.

Intimate, relaxed …

Casa Guarani has also offered the youthful crowd a fresh start for several years, with the venue’s intimate, relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere making it a vibrant and exciting party destination. Popular with Rio’s international community, who have flocked to the nightclub for years, it is also a home to locals wanting to dress-up but feel at home. Rio, which is best known for its beaches and vibrant party scene, has a diverse nightlife scene – making it a perfect fit for “dirty feet” bars.

Casa Guarani’s events organiser, Sara Silva, comes from Rio’s creative community. “I want the venue to be as welcoming as it is when full, and not overly formal,” she says. “I want to offer an energetic, welcoming and fun atmosphere that gives residents – and international visitors – a nice break from the day-to-day aspects of life.”

Highly organised …

A photo display in the evening lounge. Photograph: Sandra Galvão

The building, designed by Peil Architects, not only has a cool, funky decor, but also a refined, well-planned layout. The chilled outdoor shade is carefully placed to offer shade and calm to those who choose to relax in the sun, while the sophisticated interior and new winter build, are updated and appropriate for the venue’s clubbing evolution.

The sophisticated interior of Casa Guarani. Photograph: Fabiana Campos/Casa Guarani

Sara adds: “There are also rooms for groups and small groups, which are part of our tours, in addition to four ‘snobs’ rooms – the 70s-style French Fermier room, the modest Long Room and the 4,000-square-foot Village Room, which can be seen by those who don’t want to sit on the floor in the main room.”

In business since 2002, Casa Guarani was designed to welcome a diverse crowd, welcoming residents as well as revelers. “Being a black, mixed-race – or co-ed, if you prefer – Brazilian can be hard,” Sara says. “But we [humans] like having different types of people around us, and that makes the mix of people here fun and lively.”

Enjoying the ambience … the club features a coffee shop, dining room and big screen. Photograph: Fabiana Campos/Casa Guarani

Smooth switch …

A mix of old and new has helped manage the expansion of Casa Guarani. Apart from revamps to the décor and programming, new seats and screens have been installed throughout, to provide a comfortable vibe.

The club’s The Palmieri, which is separated from the main dance area and offers lots of seating, showcases its fine jazz and Brazilian music while offering solo artists a working space for new gigs. The Cachaça Bar lounge is dedicated to mojitos and the Wash ‘n’ Walk.

For those looking for a little fresh air and no chance of having a rowdy party, The Shippingport Bar can be had outside in the winter. A

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