This historic 'venue' is in fact an integral part of the story of samba. On the site of a former slave market, the area around the huge rock (pedra) in question is also widely believed to be the birthplace of the early carnival parades, at a time when the port-side location made the area a bleak focal point for the black community.
Fortunately the music that arose from that era has continued to today, with Pedra do Sal widely regarded as one of the best rodas de samba in Rio, attracting fleet-footed dancers, professional musicians and straight-up enthusiasts from all over Rio pouring into the area straight from work.
The huge, smooth stone becomes an impromptu dancefloor on which the crowds gather to drink and watch the musicians below, just beware later on as it becomes a sloping ice rink of beer and tumbling revellers. A quintessentially carioca night out, Monday nights are democratic, casual and have an unbeatable soundtrack, but as such bear in mind that it will be cancelled if the rain shows up to party.