By Blake Sherman, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Entrepreneur and American expatriate, Bob Fetterman, has recently purchased his second bar in Rio, buying the Lapa Irish Pub from previous Brazilian ownership. The Irish-themed pub is located under the famous arches in Lapa, and since opened in April 2009, has added a new dynamic to the samba-filled streets.
Fetterman first gained knowledge of the pub being for sale during the purchasing process of the Rio Bohemia Hostel, which was bought with partners Tom McGraw (U.S.) and Carlos Molina (from Chile). The hostel is in the same building located on the floors above the Lapa Irish Pub, and Fetterman realized the potential of owning both.
After quickly securing the investments, Fetterman aims to bring new life to the location. “The Lapa Irish Pub is a different niche of the bar business than the other nearby bars. Rock & Roll and Irish music, imported beers, upscale clientele, the unique decor.” explains Fetterman.
It has been an ambitious year for Fetterman in the city of Rio de Janeiro. After he purchased the the Rio Bohemia Hostel in July and the Lapa Irish Pub in September, two weeks later he also invested in Mab’s Bar and Restaurant on Copacabana Beach.
Originally from the United States, Fetterman wanted to bring a taste of Irish ambiance from the U.S. and bring it to Lapa. “The type of bars I enjoyed when living in Baltimore’s Fells Point district and the Fort Lauderdale [Florida] area,” states Fetterman.
With any new business ownership there comes the balance of both maintaining the working aspects that the previous ownership instilled, while also trying to build upon other factors and ideas and hopefully make the business better.
Fetterman is working in this direction as he looks to improve on an already successful operation. “I plan on keeping the same atmosphere and the same type of music with some variations, but we are starting a Happy Hour from 5PM to 9PM every Tuesday and Thursday,” says Fetterman.
If a person was to walk along the Arcos of Lapa and up the steps towards Santa Teresa, they will likely hear live Brazilian and International hit songs. For the Karaoke lover, “On Wednesday nights we have started doing a Karaoke night that has been very successful,” states Fetterman.
As with Lapa in general, the crowd is a mixed bag of both Cariocas and travelers. For many, the simple idea that there is an Irish pub in Lapa is enough to take a visit.
Fetterman is still developing many of his ideas for the pub, but he is with familiar company. Portuguese restaurateur, Luis Neves, has been working with Fetterman at both the Lapa Irish Pub and Mab’s in Copacabana. Both of them split their time in operating the two separate and distinct businesses.
They also have Brazilian Thales Fiorin as assistant manager in Lapa. The three are blueprinting future plans to enhance the pub. “I plan to change the seating and tables trying to provide more comfort to our clients. A lot is still in the planning stages with discussions with Luis and Thales,” Fetterman said.
With Karaoke, live music on the weekends, and endless flowing Guinness, the Lapa Irish Pub seems a successful staple on one of Lapa’s most infamous streets.
Lapa Irish Pub
Rua Evaristo da Veiga, 147 – Lapa
Tel: (21) 2221-7236
Tue – Thu: 5PM – 12AM
Fri – Sat: 5PM – 3AM