Wednesday, August 10, 2011

RIP Vicente

Photo by: Letícia

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
-- Dr. Seuss

Mr. Rant introduced me to the all powerful Vicente of Emporio my very first visit to Rio de Janeiro. If you wanted a table, you talked to Vicente. If Vicente liked you, it seemed you got a table even if there were none to be found.

He was the face of Emporio, a backpackers type of bar sitting in the heart of Ipanema. Regardless of the expensive chic places that surrounded it, Emporio manages to hold true to its rustic character and youthful environment. Foreigners and locals alike frequent this bar to the point where the street in front fills with those the full bar barfed back out again.

But the heart of the entire place belonged to the first man you saw when you entered. Sporting facial hair as unique as the man who owned it, Vicente ruled a roost full of colorful characters.

And he was the first person to make me feel at home in Rio de Janeiro. It was something so simple for him but I will always remember the moment. It was the first time someone recognized me without Mr. Rant.

I know it seems so simple but for this girl who was feeling like a lost little Gringa in a crazy Carioca world, actually being known someplace was a big deal. That was him though, a man who remembered faces and knew the people around him.

I will never forget the nights we had in Emporio with Vicente.  He was a memorable character in this theater of life and a friend to many. He is also a part of my very first moments in and impressions of this Rio. I have to say, he was Rio de Janeiro's very own Sam Malone.

For those who want to pay their respects, there will be a tribute to Vicente tomorrow evening at Emporio:

Time and Date: Thursday, August 11 · 9:00pm - 11:30pm
Location: Empório (Maria Quitéria nº37)

 Check here for more details:


  1. Sadly I only discovered your blog upon looking for news about Vicente... I'm a Carioca who's left Rio over 10 years ago and Emporio brings wonderful memories, it'll never be the same. Love your blog, your insights into the craziness of Brazilian life crack me up!

  2. Wow, Rachel, my husband has known Vicente for so many years. Whenever we'd go out, we usually ended up there, good music and Vicente, we always bought him chopps, he was awesome. My husband didn't even know about this until just now when I read this. He's very sad.

  3. We didn't go last night as we had kid-friendly plans at a friend's house but several people we know did go and the turn-out was huge, someone said 2000 people! He was a wonderful man and loved by many. Emporio will never be the same. Last month another garcon, Antonio from Jobi also passed away way before his time, that was shocking too. Sad.

  4. Mr. Rant went and he said it was crazy packed! He saw friends from years and years ago. Said the place was full of Vicente's old favorites and that he would have been proud. :)

  5. That is wonderful, I'm glad Mr. Rant went! I am sure Vicente was smiling down on his festa... he was a true spirit, and KIND. These years com crianca, when we could get a babysitter, we'd start there early, like 9pm, and it was still empty enough that he could sit with us at our table and we could talk for a bit. We've brought so many people there and even when it was midnight, packed, he'd find a place for us. He was a GEM! It won't ever feel the same going there without him. It's a shame, the last time I was there was in April, Thiago and I got into a huge argument and I left in my dramatic state...that was the last time I saw Vicente. A reminder, appreciate people, enjoy life and don't let the stupid, petty things get you down. And TELL people how much you like, love or appreciate them. It's important.