Many regular visitors to Rio in the 1970s, 80s and 90s will remember Barril 1800 on Ipanema Beach. Sadly Barril departed the scene in 2007 to be replaced by Bar Rio and then the Astor. But it appears Astor has not survived the pandemic and having been closed for nearly a year will give way to a branch of Boteco Boa Praça, a group that started life in São Paulo and opened a popular Rio branch in Leblon (Rua Dias Ferreira 12) in 2019.
The new Boa Praça is expected to open in May 2021 with plans for a third Rio branch in Barra (Av Olegário Maciel) by the year end.
No news yet as to what may happen to the upper floor in Ipanema that some will remember during Barril’s time as Jazzmania (1983-1994) where you could have been lucky enough to catch the likes of Chet Baker, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Toots Thielemans, Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Marisa Monte, Hermeto Pascoal, João Bosco, Jorge Ben and many, many others.
Crisis? What crisis? Pandemic? What pandemic? Despite what is going on in and around the world, Rio de Janeiro has still seen the opening of a number of new restaurants since the start of the year including recently the 600 seater Nordic Steakhouse, O Nórdico, in Av Olegário Maciel in Barra which comes with a Viking theme!
More tempting may be Escama, a new seafood restaurant in Rua Visconde de Carandaí in Jardim Botânico. While you can find fish on the menu at most restaurants in Rio, actual seafood restaurants are surprisingly quite few and far between.
A new Italian, Amalfitana, has opened up in the space vacated by Quadrifoglio in the Village Mall in Barra, while Leblon has a new bistro, Sole, in Rua Dias Ferreira. And Burgers Rio has opened a new branch at Rua Voluntários da Pátria 1 in Botafogo to add to the one at Rua Aníbal de Mendonça 55 in Ipanema.
23 February will see the premiere on Netflix of “Pelé”, a new original documentary, that chronicles the life of Edson Arantes do Nascimento – or Pelé.
The documentary looks back at the extraordinary period that Pelé, the only player to win three World Cup titles, went from a young superstar in 1958 to a national hero, amidst a radical and turbulent era in Brazilian history.
With rare and exclusive filmed access to Pelé himself, the film showcases the star reflecting upon his career. The documentary also includes rare archive and interviews from former legendary team-mates at Santos Futebol Clube and the Brazilian national team, including Zagallo, Amarildo and Jairzinho, as well as testimonials from family members, journalists, artists and other personalities who witnessed the golden age of Brazilian football. that culminated in Brazil winning the 1970 World Cup.
There is to be an all Brazilian final at Rio’s Maracanã Stadium to the Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League, when Palmeiras and Santos will play on 30 January 2021 having respectively knocked out Argentina’s River Plate and Boca Juniors in the semi-finals.
It is only the third time in the history of the competition that two Brazilian teams have played the final. It means that Brazil will now have had the most finalists in the history of the competition with 38, compared to Argentina’s 37, but even with Brazil’s 21st title in 2021, Argentina still leads with 25 titles.
The current holder of the Copa Libertadores is Brazil’s Flamengo. Santos is a three time winner of the Libertadores (1962, 1963 and 2011, losing one other final) and Palmeiras has won once in 1999 (but has lost three finals).
The final on 30 January is to be played at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro and will kick off at 17.00 (20.00 UK time and should be shown in Britain on the BBC).
Mangueira is the last of Rio’s major samba school to choose its theme or enredo for what may be a special parade of the samba schools in July 2021. All based on if the vaccine is rolled out successfully in Rio de Janeiro.
Mangueira’s samba is “Angenor, José &Laurindo”, which refers to three of the school’s most iconic figures, the great composer, Cartola, (Angenor de Oliveira); the singer, Jamelão (José Bispo Clementino dos Santos); and the dance master or mestre-sala, Delegado (Hélio Laurindo da Silva).
2021 also marks the centenary of the birth of Mestre Delegado who performed for the school from 1948 through to 1984, when he retired as the Mestre-Sala after Mangueira had won the Super-Championship to mark the first year of the Sambódromo. In that time Delegado had always scored a maximum 10 for his presentation.
The Mayor of São Paulo, supported by the Governor of the State, has signed a new five year contract, with a possible five year extension, to continue to host a Formula One Grand Prix in the city.
The race is now to be called the São Paulo Grand Prix, rather than the Brazilian Grand Prix, presumably to leave the door open for Rio de Janeiro to build its new circuit to host a Brazilian Grand Prix.
The 2020 Brazilian GP, scheduled originally for 15 November 2020, was cancelled like many races due to Covid-19, but São Paulo is provisionally, at least until the ink dries, on the 2021 schedule to host a race on Sunday, 14 November 2021.
The decision should be popular with the Formula 1 teams given the size of the Brazilian market for many of the sponsors.
Sadly it is looking increasingly likely that Rio’s carnival in 2021 will be badly disrupted by the impact of Covid-19, including the famous parade of the top samba schools – scheduled for 14 and 15 February – as preparations require people to work in confined spaces and close proximity.
It is also seen as impossible to have the normal crowd of 75,000 plus in place unless a vaccine for Covid-19 is found. The same for the schools to parade as each would have over 3,000 people dancing and performing in close proximity, a total of over 50,000 performers over the two nights.
Until an official decision is taken by LIESA (League of Samba Schools), probably in September 2020, the schools will continued their preparations for carnival 2021, that might even get pushed back to later in 2021.
Viradouro, the current champions, hope that if the carnival parades do go ahead in 2021, it can defend its title with a theme that will focus on the carnival and Rio of 1919, the first carnival after the First World War and the “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918 that killed so many people in Brazil. The samba is “Não há tristeza que possa suportar tanta alegria” (“There is No Sadness That Can Endure So Much Joy”).