Trapiche Gamboa surprises customers both with its ample size and its rustic feel.

One of the most charming aspects of the place is its location in an 1867 building – a warehouse (the titular “trapiche”) used to store products from ships that docked at Rua da Praia, currently named Rua Sacadura Cabral. Many original materials are preserved on site, such as the hydraulic tile floor, the French roof tiles, the hardwood used on beams, stairs, roof, and landings, the stone gates at the entrance, the cast iron grids, and an old oven.

Opened in 2004, the venue is managed by the friendly figure Claudinha, who has always appreciated the combination of a good bar establishment with enjoyable Brazilian music, and who turned the place into one she would frequent herself.

The musical schedule is intense, with a specific lineup for each day of the week: there are samba gatherings, jongo dance performances, chorinho players, as well as displays of other musical genres. The sound is mostly provided by acoustic instruments, with musicians informally gathered around a central table and the audience, just like in the old times.

The extensive menu offers typical Brazilian snacks. Highlights include the “pastel” (a fried turnover with several different fillings), cassava and shrimp dumplings, the traditional bean broth, and Brazilian-style chicken gizzards; as well as the house specials, such as the beef al funghi dumpling, the cod risotto dumpling, Claudinha’s carpaccio, and the rustic pâté. 

Special offerings also include the “escondidinho” (a traditional Brazilian dish similar to a shepherd’s pie) made with jerked beef, chicken, or shrimp, as well as a novel version with ossobuco and arracacha. In terms of drinks, beer is the house’s trademark offering. Caipirinhas, whiskey, and special cocktails make up the rest of the lineup.

Any given outing at Trapiche Gamboa is sure to be an exciting affair. For more private chats, the mezzanines offer the perfect environment, along with a small and charming outdoor area high on the top floor.