Murals line the foyer of this 1867 mansion. The rhythms filter down from above. Follow the sound up the marble staircase and out into a large hall filled with tables, an enormous dance floor and a long stage covered with musicians. A wide range of cariocas gathers here to dance, revel in the music and soak up the splendor of the samba-infused setting.

If you come to just one gafieira (dance hall) in Lapa, Democráticus is a good choice.