By Charlotte Markham, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Sitting in front of Guanabara Bay, Botafogo has always been a prestigious neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, ever since it housed the Portuguese Crown in the late 1800s. Today, it continues to draw nighttime revelers, foodies and young professionals as an unpretentious contemporary melting pot of Rio’s hip and trendy.
As shown from the colonial mansions and Palacio da Cidade (workplace of city’s mayor), Botafogo once housed the richest and noblest of Rio’s assemblage. This prestigious past means there are now several architectural and cultural attractions of which to take note.
For example the Casa de Rui Barbosa, on Rua São Clemente, is a large mansion that is now a museum and gardens. Outside the a href=”http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-sports/botafogo-profile-the-lone-star/” target=”_blank”>Botafogo
Many of these colonial mansions have been transformed into some fantastic eateries. Duque on Barão de Itambi, places emphasis on complementary flavors and beautiful presentation with live music at weekends. Next door Via Farani has Italian downstairs and sushi upstairs. Irajá Gastrô and Miam Miam are considered exceptional.
There is no shortage of nighttime options. For hipsters a now firm favorite is Comuna. Best known for its gourmet burgers, every night the crowds spill out onto the street during the regular DJ nights. Crazy Cats and Ovelha Negra also cater for the hipster movement and Caverna or Casa Matriz are popular nightclubs. Nelson Mandela street, directly in front of the metro station, is also one of the busiest happy hour scenes in the city.
Winehouse, owned by a British expatriate, specializes in the under-appreciated Brazilian wine. The appetizers, such as the homemade paté and a variety of unusual bruschettas, including gorgonzola and fig, compliment the beverages beautifully.
The House of Food hosts a different chef everyday by lending its kitchen to local food connoisseurs who serve food truck style cuisine that can be enjoyed with the wide selection of imported beers.
Although Botafogo’s beach is not a place for swimming, due to the pollution in Guanabara Bay, the cycle lane running parallel to the beach has perhaps the best view of Sugarloaf.
There are three malls in Botafogo: Rio Sul, Botafogo Praia Shopping and Casa e Gourmet Shopping which has an excellent selection of interior decoration shops. There are also five cinemas, each offering different discounts for example half price for Net bill or Itau accounts, check online to see the offers.
In terms of living in Botafogo the area has been attracting young couples and professionals who are looking to live in Zona Sul (South Zone) for a more affordable price. According to FipeZap the price of real estate has been declining slightly since 2015.
The average price of a square meter to buy in Botafogo is at the moment R$11.734, down from R$11.889 in January. A one bedroom or studio apartment costs around R$350,000, but usually some additional work will be needed. To rent, the average cost of a square meter is R$45.
With excellent transportation links, including the metro bus to Jardim Botanico and Gávea, and proximity to Copacabana, Lagoa and Centro, it is a cheaper alternative to other neighborhoods in Zona Sul. The Botafogo football (soccer) team’s slogan “O Glorioso,” (The Glorious One), still rings true for this favorite neighborhood in Rio, despite their recent loss to Vasco in the 2016 state championship.