WASHINGTON — For anyone with World Cup fever who can’t make it to Brazil for the games, there are other ways to soak up the excitement - and the flavor of the country -- without missing a moment. In one of Washington, D.C.’s most eclectic neighborhoods is a bar where infectious rhythm will transport you without ever leaving the United States.
Adams Morgan is a colorful neighborhood with international restaurants and bars as diverse as the capital city itself.
With just days to go before the international tournament officially kicks off in São Paulo, Brazil, there is one lounge - called Bossa -- that stands out from the rest.
Yillah Natalie, who is the manager, said, "When you come in, it feels like Brazil, the patrons are Brazilian. It’s so much fun. We dance, we sweat, we drink 'caipirinhas.' It really is a lot like being back home.”
The Brazilians here take pride in their craft of mixing the caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. It’s a concoction of lime, sugar and a fermented sugarcane-based spirit called cachaça.
As winners of five World Cup titles, Brazilians also take pride in “futebol,” or soccer.
“Bring it… for all of the people like myself that can’t get back to Brazil for the copa [World Cup], it’s happening here at Bossa," said Natalie. "We’re ready, we’re going to show it, it’s going to be crazy in here with Brazilians, and we are going to get that trophy.”
Whether you’re a proud expatriate or simply a curious first-time visitor, there is something for everyone here. Just up the stairs, Bossa offers Brazilian dance classes from various regions of the country.
In fact, upon entering the lounge, a visitor might just think -- for a moment -- that the tournament was about to take place right there.
Rio De Janeiro native Carolina Freitas said, “It’s a very positive atmosphere. It’s very much Brazilian, because I feel like Brazilian people for the most part are like that: friendly, welcoming, positive, fun.”
Samba instructor Demeteris Hale is an American, originally from Louisiana. She said, though, she’s a Brazilian at heart. She teaches a dance called “samba de gafieira”-- a couple’s variation of samba.
“The first thing I learned with samba, even before I knew what it was, was this feeling of happiness," said Hale. "You have to let yourself enjoy the music, and let it be your first dance partner. My one rule is … feel the music."
Hale described music as the other international language -- a language that makes people smile, and transcends international boundaries.
“If I could put everybody on a plane and bring them here, I would," she said. "I would be like, the quickest way to Brazil is to come to Bossa. You don’t need a passport and you don’t have to wait for a visa.”
So if you can’t make it to Brazil this June, your best decision may be to find the next best thing. The place you’re looking for might be closer than you think.