Saturday, July 24, 2010

THE TEMPLE OF CULTURE - BAR DO LEO

From outside in a very local neighborhood of Vinhais, it is just a simply veggie market, but in the evenings it is a famous meeting point among the population of São Luis. Simply very unusual!!! The whole city love to go there, it is a very dmeocratic environment from the poorest to the richest, they all love going there to listen to great music coming from the amazing OWNERS COLLECTION OF RECORD PLAYERS AND CDs. People say he has one of the biggest music collection in Brazil.


Bar do Leo is for sure the most interesting bars that I have ever gone, most of my best friends in São Luis love going there to hang out and we stay there for us! The bar has its name because of the owner, his name is LEO, he is an old am who is an excentric music collections and he loves to be challenged. You have to write a note with the music you like, it has to be brazilian and quite rare and he will be really happy to find it in his collection and play it for you.

He will say not to dance, his music is to be listened...but the ambience is soooo exotic, full of old pieces of locals' art of Maranhão.

In my first night in São Luis in this trip, my good friend Shintia and Marcone's mother which is also a great friend of mine too, invited me for a great time at Bar do Leo. It is really a wonderful place for long conversations.

Going to Maranhão is a great opportunity I have to rest my mind and always experience local stuff which I do appreciate.



Shintia is my adorable friend and a very important reference in Maranhão, she knows places that she knows it will be interestings to my tours and she is the one who keep me updated about new places in the city. São Luis is growing faster than I thought and I strongly recommend all my guests when they come to Brazil not to miss this vibrant city!

As it is a very popular bar, Leo allows street arts to express the rich culture of Maranhão!


I am a great fan of local art and specially to see people's work, these artists who are not famous or recognized by these "arts expercts". I prefer to be an "amateur" admirer and see so many fabulous work, in the walls of Bar do Leo I can also practice my black and white photography and I can show you a little bit of this State's fantastic daily life and costums.
This whos the image of a SANFONEIRO, in the north east and north of Brazil this figure is very important, this is the main musical instrument of a very national rhythm called FORRÓ, played all over this part of Brazil. "Sanfoneiro" means Acordeon Player, and Sanfona means Acordeon in Brazil.


Leo was painted in the wall of his own Bar. He is a real character, very simply old man and very moody. The working time of his bar depends on how good he is or how bad he is. If he is angry for some reason be ssure that you will spend a very few time in his place. If he is happy you can stay there with your friends until late by 5:00 am!!! :)
He is indeed very proud about his music collection, he has more than 10000 long players, very old and rare ones. There are millions of LP collectors in the World, I can assure you that meeting Leo will be very important for you to change ideas about some rare pieces in Brazil and South America.



Bar do Leo has a big space in the Market...it is a sort of a very interesting "local museum" in São Luis. But it is indeed one of the most important cultural reference in the city. During the day it is a very interesting market in the neighborhood of Vinhais, together with another district called COHAMA, it is another very important middle class districts of the city!
Bar do Leo is by far my favourite bar in the State and it must be really one of the places that you cannot miss in any trip to Maranhão.
Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner

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