By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Gringo Café in Ipanema is known for its all-American menu and perfect location a few short blocks from posto 9, as well as throwing events that bring both the expatriate community and local residents together. Now it has added yet another string to its bow with its latest enterprise, Gringo Lounge on Thursday nights.
Unlike previous events such as the highly successful Gringo Group Therapy nights and Happy Hours, Gringo Lounge offers a different ambiance which American expatriate owner Sam Flowers has created as a warm up to the weekend.
He reveals, “Gringo Lounge is a fun, and yet, low key way to get in the mood for the weekend. It’s different from our other events since the DJ sets the mood and the crowd is more intimate than our larger events.”
Already proving to be a hit with regular customers, Gringo Lounge has also enticed a new clientele and has proven to be a hit with couples looking for a relaxed yet fun atmosphere in which to enjoy a date.
Known for its American diner-style cuisine that includes mac and cheese, BBQ salad and all-day breakfasts, Flowers is adept at finding the balance between keeping things true to tradition while trying out new ideas. In this sense, he hopes to attract new customers while pleasing his existing ones.
He explains, “The ambiance at Gringo Cafe transforms for one night to more of a Bar than a restaurant, yet still we maintain the theme of an easy, fun and casual place to go.”
Flowers hopes that the event will become a Thursday night staple for everyone either as a place to start the night or finish it. He explains, “It’s an early night out maybe as a warm up for the rest of the night, or as an alternative to a full night of bar hopping or clubbing.”
The DJ list has also been carefully selected and includes some of Rio’s finest talent, all of whom are regulars on the bar and club circuit.
DJs Tee Cardaci, Lica Tito, Seleem, Raphael, Ricardo Imperatore, Marcelo Pirikito, Daniel Chaudon and Roberta Gramani have all taken turns spinning the decks at the Lounge Thursday events and it seems they enjoy the atmosphere as much as the customers.
DJ Tee Cardaci explains, “I really enjoyed playing the Gringo Lounge night because I had the freedom to stretch out and cover many genres over the course of the night without the pressure to play to the dance floor.”
Of course, there is more to Gringo Lounge than just the awesome music. Flowers regularly gets creative in the kitchen making a special feature dish for the night as well as offering his all-time favorites.
Previous features have included Cajun BBQ pork with sweet potato fries, spicy sausage baguette with onion rings, and tasty tuna melt. Customers can find out the feature dish for the night on Gringo Café’s facebook page.
In terms of drinks, there are the popular flavored Caipirinhas and, of course, beer, wine and soft drinks available. Flowers adds, “Many weeks we feature a new item on the food or drink menu and sometimes offer a special price as well.”