Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Rio Carnival 2013: bailes

With the streets overflowing with revellers by day, the city's larger venues are harking back to the Carnival balls of yesterday by night.

The blocos are firmly back in Carnival fashion, exploding during the last decade to previously unheard of levels of popularity, throwing the streets into a swarming, happy mess and groups like Monobloco firmly into the national spotlight. Now following closely behind are the bailes (balls), the forgotten but equally traditional night-time events first held in the city by the wife of an Italian ambassador in 1840, where the elite would flock to once the rest of the city had cleared off home to prepare for the next day's early start. 

Copacabana Palace's Magic Ball remains the most exclusive of all the city's events, replacing the Theatro Municipal's annual affair which died off in the 1990s as the building struggled to cope with the 4,000-strong knees up. The Scala has been another long-running favourite, the Gala Gay at its former home in Leblon being a firm fixture on the Carnival calendar, as it remains today despite moving to the grander surroundings of Cinelândia. Also hosting the Cordão da Bola Preta ball, their rejuvination has paved the way for the Jockey Club to get itself dolled up every night of the five-day holiday too, offering even more options for the seasonal party folk to lose themselves in. 

Rio's top 5 balls of 2013

7 February, 10pm
Baile Oficial da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro
(The Official Ball of Rio)
MAM. R$250.

8 February, 10pm
Baile Devassa with Seu Jorge
MAM. R$250.

9-12 February, 10pm
Baile Cordão da Bola Preta
Rua da Relação 3 Lapa. R$30.

9 February, 10pm
Grande Baile das Mascaras (The Great Masked Ball)
Vivo Rio. R$40-$140.

12 February, 10pm

Gala Gay (The Gay Ball)
Scala Rio.

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors

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