Nothing so chic about Favelas

Where did that come from?

Someone who knew that I craved for my dose of Brazil every once in a while recommended this place in East London to me. Favela Chic. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive in the beginning. Something about sugar coating the reality of Brazil isn’t something I enjoy. Anyway, I decided to head there with Roy and my cousin Dhruva on Sunday night, when I found out that ‘Afrikan Revolution’ was playing there.  Live band with some Rasta people on the Djembe didn’t hurt.

Anyway, as described by View London, Brazil is synonymous with samba, sunshine and sexiness, and Favela Chic injects a saucy shot of this Brazilian energy into Shoreditch. This East London hotspot is a venue with soul, which is why it has fast become a sizzling favourite among a sea of nondescript bars and clubs serving up designer wallpaper and house music.

Do I agree? Yes, I do agree about the sea of nondescript bars and clubs serving up designer wallpaper and house music. And, the rest is history.

You can look up definition of Favelas. You can listen to Brazilian music. Your mouth can water thinking about what people eat and drink in Brazil. And, you can dream and about the smells and sounds and senses that make up Brazil. And, for someone who has visited Brazil and soaked in the place, Favela Chic is a bloody disappointment. Maybe it is a real harsh call after one visit. Just something about the place put me off.

A comparison is unfair but for what its worth, these are the reasons –

1. The actual Gringo : Latin american buff ratio was in you know who’s favour. There were more short dress high heel drunk chicas (obviously not interested in the music or the dance) finishing crates and crates of Coronas and just uploading pouted lip photos on Facebook with some bunch of guys. The crowd just wasn’t what I expected.

2. The Caiprinhas were not perfect. Something about the brown sugar missing. You can’t call yourself a place with Brazilian soul and make lousy Caipirinhas.

3. The place was trying too hard. Crushed brown paper bag meets blackboard with gold frame meets a random Jesus Christ frame meets benches meets records hanging from the ceiling. Best comparison is people spending hours trying to get the out of bed look with their hair or restaurants refurbishing to make the place look more vintage and stuff.

4. Live music to me should be live music. You just blame Favela Chic for that. Somehow, music has changed so much. Its just the times. There is too much of DJ whoever whatever meets a great live band and f***s it up.

5.  They say they have Brazilian cuisine, French style and London attitude. Obviously, the cocktail wasn’t very well presented.

Anyway, to me, anyone who would consider using the word Favela should think about the character that goes with it. Here, I’ll leave you with what I think is one of the best descriptions of a Favela, from one of my favourite artists in Rio – Selaron from Chile.

Favela Chic – am I going back there?

Maybe. The bartender was a mean ass juggler and I loved the way he juggled the limes, the bottles and the glasses and moved every bit like someone who would be in one with the music and Brazilian way of life. Maybe I’ll go back when there is a real Brazilian gig and I’m sure I know what I’m getting.

5 thoughts on “Nothing so chic about Favelas

  1. funny that we were on great eastern street just earlier in the day, checking out a pop up by tokyobike!

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