Saturday 1 October 2016

Street Dogs & the Chennai Expat Guide

I remember as if it was yesterday. It was already quite late at night and I wanted to pick up my loved one from work. Having discovered the shortcut on a rickshaw ride, I decided to use it again. Passing through with the Kinetic, though with hesitation, I went for it.  Big mistake. At night, the streets of Chennai change and many of them will be dominated by street dogs. A bunch of them chased me out of the hood, with my legs in the air!

This short story and many others are documented in the book Chennai Expat guide, written by my friend and former boss Peter Claridge. Have look on his website to buy the book or check out the Kindle version on Amazon.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Going out in Curitiba - Day & Night Drinking

So, whether for some odd reason you tought of stopping by in Curitiba on your Latam backpacking trip or you're just in town for business, I'll cut the chase: few landmarks will impress you here (the MON museum basically). Many bars and clubs are fun and will impress you. That's exactly why off the 20 stops the Tourist double-decker offers, you're only allowed to unboard to see 4. "Don't waste time sigthseeing", the four lonely cupons whisper.

So I wrote a post about going out in Curitiba , largely based on personal experience and therefore exempt of country and rock bars, which are quit popular amongst Brazilians. Below is a map with all the places mentioned and some more.


Electronic music is definitely not the most popular genre in Brazil. In Curitiba however, the scene is pretty evolved and there are some good clubs to be found.

Club Vibe

club vibe curitiba
If you like house and techno this is the place to be. This legendary club in Curitiba has international DJ´s and a great soundsystem that guarantee for a good night out, except when they don't have beer to sell. Regularly open on weekdays, as the same big names move on to D-Edge in São Paulo for the weekend.

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Paradis Club

This is a cosy club with different music styles, depending on the party. The infamous 'Funk You' parties land here and they also program a lot of Jazzy, Funky, Groovy, Disco Dj's. Get on up, Stay on the scene, Get on up, Like a sex machine!

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Danghai Club

Growing in popularity, this place might be snooping away a bit of the Vibe public. Programming national and sometimes international dj's, usually techno, the club has a complimentary breakfast at 7am.

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Studio Club

Also a new kid on the block, be it a block outside the city. The Studio club mostly brings local house and techo dj's in what they call a "sofisticated, exclusive and harmoniuous club", featering an outside area with a pool (nobody uses, ever). You might want to wear sunglasses to fit in.

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Cocktail bars and cafés in Curitiba, to enjoy a drink with friends or fuel up before the party.

Le Voleur de Vélo

This fine bar not only serves delicious cocktails but also sells bikes, put all over the walls.  The interior and the drinks breath originality, gaining Vogue's aproval as "one of the hipper spots in Curitiba". The terrace is great for an intimate drink with friends on a hot summer evening. The Gin-Tonics are my favourite here!

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Tiger Cocktails

Before hitting the club, you can get some great drinks at the Tiger Cocktails Bar. The bar is part of the Lagundri restaurant and therefor bestows some of it's exclusive air on it. The "Moscow Mule" and "Nancy Sinatra" are definetely worth a try!

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This bar / restaurant is pretty big, yet on weekends fully packed. Besides pushing Budweiser buckets they have a large food menu, ranging from greacy sausage to fine sushi. Live bands regularly play and they've had their experiments with electronic music, such as the Corona Summer Sunsets. They do their best to attract singles and it's a known hunting ground.

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Street Drinking Vicente Machado

On the Vicente Machado street there's several tiny bars one next to the other. As they don't have much or no seating at all, they end up serving local beers to people in the streets. It's a pretty hip crowd that gathers there on fridays after work or hot Saturday evenings. Wattafuck is right in front the +55 bar and 'Pizza' some 50m down. You can't miss the crowd, blend inn.

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So let's imagine you took the sightseeing bus and you're 4 stops down and back where you started at f**king mid-day. what to do? Get a drink, right?

Maneko's bar

manekos bar curitibaJoin the retired resident crowd at Maneko's for some shameless liquor as of  11am. This bar is as old as the street in front and serves a mean "bife parmegiana" (steak with tomato sauce and cheese on top) , making it a great option for lunch. 'Passarinho', the whistling waiter, will jokingly take your order and yell it to the kitchen.

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Bar do Alemão

As the name betrays, this is a German inspired bar, great for day drinking. From 11am onwards you can drink big pints of German lager and eat "Wurst" over here. It's located on the Largo da Ordem, in the historic centre, a neighbourhood best enjoyed during daylight hours anyways.

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Barbaran - Ucrânia bar

This Ukrainian bar sometimes proves hard to find but is worth the while. Besides cold beers they have good finger food (minced meat!) at reasonable prices. Opens around 4pm. Go early cos it's busy.

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Rua São Francisco

This recently revitalised street in the centre is an alternative hipster hangout and features many bars serving local artisan beers, bar food and burgers. The bars are rather small so the street gets packed pretty quickly in the evening. During lunch hour it's more chill and the Negrita bar is a great option. The square "Praça Bolsa do Ciclista" is community project of Curitiba's citizens and boosts recycled art and mini city gardens. A 'Robocop' from the municipal police keeps the place under constant surveillance.

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Party Map

A custom made map with the best places to go out in Curitiba.

Words of Caution

A common question among tourists is whether it is dangerous to go out in Curitiba. In comparison to many other cities in Brazil it is not. If you limit yourself to taking a taxi and going straight to the place you want to go, you'll hardly run into any trouble. If you go out for drinking in the street, just stay with the crowd. If you stroll around however, particularly in the historic city centre after dark, you have to watch out for crack addicts and thugs.

To take a taxi, it is recommended to use a taxi app on your phone, such as 99Taxis or Easy Taxi. As the drivers are personally identifiable, they are more trustworthy. It's not uncommon for malicious taxi drivers to be waiting outside clubs for drunk party goers and do detours or charge more "cos they don't have change".

Make sure you have money. This might sound obvious, but in most places you only pay at the exit at the end of the night. It's easy to spend just checking boxes on a paper card so avoid nasty surprises as you leave. Usually an entrance fee applies, ranging from 20R$ in bars to 80R$ in clubs, so include that as well.

Any tips for going out in Curitiba? Leave it in the comments!