"A lot of fun for those who want to let their hair down to Latin music"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Guanabara has established itself as London’s premier Brazilian music and dance venue. Everyone has heard of it, and many have attempted a dance move or two here at least once.
The circular dancefloor faces a stage where a different live band assembles each night to play music that ranges from Samba, lambada, and funk to reggaeton, and Brazilian Drum & Bass. There are free dance classes each night where you can learn things like forro – which is danced in pairs, gafieira which is a ballroom version of samba, or how to lambada.
Wooden canteen-style tables surround the dance floor and the menu contains moreish Brazilian snacks like the cheese bread which we couldn’t get enough of (doughball-like shapes stuffed with cheese), salt and cod fish cakes and cassava chips. Fuller meals can also be ordered, like the famous Brazilian feijoada (black beans, pork and beef in a stew).
There is a veritable selection of daiquiris, caipirinhas and mojitos amongst other cocktails, try the mouth watering vanilla mojito if you have a sweet tooth, or a milkshake-like banana daiquiri. They are reasonably priced at around £6.50, but special drinks offers apply from 5 to 7pm most days.
As with its main rival Salsa! on Charing Cross Road, Guanabara attracts a mix of genuinely keen dancers, guys on the pull, and girls keen to swerve their hips for their attention despite their prohibitive heels. While there are many having fun on the dancefloor, either in groups or pairing up, throughout the course of the evening a circle of young men on the lookout builds up around the circular floor. It is all very amusing to watch and a testament to human nature. I wonder how some people are managing to move one leg after the other as they keep turning their heads to see who’s around.
At weekends the place fills up to the point where moving around becomes a chore, and even on the Tuesday night I attended despite being far from full there was certainly a good number of people. They were still arriving well after 11, perhaps attracted by the 2.30am closing time, a midweek rarity in London.
Guanabara does what it sets out to do well; it may not be discreet, quiet, or elegant, but it’s certainly a lot of fun for those who just want to let their hair down to Latin music.
Leila reviewed Guanabara on Mon 24 Aug 2009