By Doug Gray, Contributing Reporter

Help Discotech in Copacabana. Photo by Doug Gray
Help Discotech in Copacabana. Photo by Doug Gray

RIO DE JANEIRO – It has been high on Governor Sergio Cabral’s hit list for several years, but it now looks as if the closing of Copacabana’s most notorious nightclub ‘Help’ is finally confirmed. A recent decision by Judge Camila Novaes Lopes ruled in favor of its compulsory purchase by the State of Rio De Janeiro in winter 2009.

Opened in 1985 by the businessman Chico Recarey, Help’s lavish interior and upper class patronage gained it a reputation among the Carioca playboys as a place to see and be seen. But as Copacabana’s star faded at the end of the 80’s, and the rich and famous moved towards Ipanema and Leblon, so too did Help’s.

Now, what was once the largest nightclub in South America, is possibly the continent’s largest brothel. This is why Governor Cabral is financing it’s compulsory purchase to spearhead a tidying-up campaign of the hard-bitten Copacabana neighborhood, which remains one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions.

The plan was first proposed last year, with the idea that the site would be transformed somewhat dramatically into a cultural center as the new Museum of Sound and Vision, but delays and counter-arguments have held the project back. Some of these include the very reasonable consideration that the prostitutes will simply move on to other possibly less safe locations to look for business.

As one girl who wanted to remain nameless put it, “This will do nothing for Copacabana and nothing to stop prostitution. We feel safer at Help than on the streets, but it looks like that is where we will have to go.”

The Governor remains unmoved by such opinions however, and though prostitution remains legal in Brazil, the idea that it is carried out so brazenly and on such a scale in this tourist hot spot appears too great a threat to order in Zona Sul. The 60 day compulsory purchase order has been placed on it, along with a deposit of R$13m, and as such the doors will likely be closing at the end of May.

Nobody was available at club Help to comment.


  1. The place was condemed by the city in late January 2008. Within the last two months there were major improvements made inside the Disco by the current management that are hardly signs that they will be closing soon. As a twenty five year veteran of the area, I’ve been hearing statements like this for the past five years. I will believe it when the doors are locked & I walk past it everyday as I live just two block away.

  2. Never fear, Brazilian street justice should prevail. I’m sure the judge will be threatened and/or bribed to stop the closing in the final hours. There are some forces at work behind the scenes that you DON’T want to get angry at you (for your own sake). I’d bet against the closing.

  3. Money talks in Brasil, and Judges are no exceptions. You can buy Judges, Politicians, and especially the corrupt lowly paid Police, in every corner of Brasil. Even the President of Brasil is no exception when it comes down to taking bribes, because that’s the custom of Brasil. Most Brasilians have a very stupid mind set that ALL AMERICANS ARE WEALTHY, so therefor money talks and bullshit Brasilian laws are just BULLSHIT when it comes down to Corruption.

  4. I am deeply sadden and hurt by this news. I have met many ladies/friends at Club Help and regardless of their profession, they are mostly kind and friendly people.
    I do not think that this is a well thoughtout plan.This will be a great financial loss to the community and to the men around the world how go to Club Help.

  5. This is a Damn Shame !!!!! Can’t this Governor see that this is a Landmark? Not to mention an enormous cash cow & major tourist attraction for men and
    women worldwide. I hope he’s not going to ruin Rio like Guliani ruined New York with this “quality of life” bullshit !!!!

  6. Nick,
    Unfortunately, it was closed! Help was a fun place and it is missed by many. If you plan a vacation in Brasil you can still have a great time and, if you are looking for the HELP type of girls I would rather recommend Belo Horizonte where the girls are neautiful and a lot cheaper than Rio.



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