By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After catching a collective breath following Rio’s Carnival escapades, expatriates and Carioca friends will be kicking March off with the next Gringo Group Therapy Happy Hour event, held at the Gringo Café in Ipanema. This month, Friday, March 2nd starting at 7PM, will be co-sponsored by popular Meetup Group “Expats and English Speakers of Rio de Janeiro”.
Anthony Giuffida who leads the Meetup Group, is excited about the partnership in promoting the Happy Hour, saying there is no better place to host an event aimed at foreigners or ‘gringos’ since the venue has such as strong connection with the expatriate community.
He explains “Gringo Café has the same [focus] as our group – Gringos and anyone who speaks English or likes American food, and of course we enjoy having Brazilians who like to eat American home cooked foods and take in the American culture.”
For those not familiar, the social networking site ‘Meetup’ is among the largest network of local groups in the world. The site’s stated goal is “to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize.”
Giuffida started the Group in 2007, which has almost 800 members and has put on some 52 events and counting. For a time the name had changed, and the group focus was expatriate entrepreneurs and real estate, but this has evolved back to a more social direction.
Giuffida explains “we had tried to make the group more serious by focusing on small business owners, but we realized the groups have a much better turn out if it is a simple expats and English speakers group.”
Gringo Café founder and owner Sam Flowers has long been an advocate of the site and of the opportunities it brings to foreigners. Having already hosted a successful ‘meetup’ event in September, he remains confident of its continuing success. “At that time it was the largest group we had attracted and the feedback from the attendees was really positive.”
The monthly Gringo Group Therapy started as an informal happy hour in March 2011 by Flowers as an organic get-together. The events typically have a relaxed atmosphere, and often feature a topic such as visa issues, real estate, Portuguese language or financial planning.
The Gringo Café’s Happy Hour Special offers two-for-one drinks with a new-and-improved cocktail menu. The most popular drinks, Flowers recommends, are the “Mate Palmer (a spin on the traditional Arnold Palmer drink in the U.S.) and strawberry lemonade [with vodka, of course].”
Anthony Giuffida, who is an expatriate working in real estate, is keen to highlight that the group not only benefits foreigners living in the Rio, but prospective residents also. He describes “It is a great place for Gringos who want to visit or relocate to Brazil to make new friends, ask questions, and learn of the hot spots in the area!”
Find out more at:
Gringo Group Therapy Happy Hour on Meetup
Friday, March 2nd, 7-9PM
Rua Barao Da Torre 240
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro