It is only from atop one of Lisbon’s famous miradouros can you truly appreciate the beauty of this city.
From up here there is a sense of calm as the light breeze from the Tagus River whistles over terracotta roofs and vibrant buildings. In the distance you can see traffic filing across the Vasco da Gama Bridge while down below you can hear the ringing bell of trams. The sun is setting over a city brimming with culture, there is a scent of barbecued seafood in the air – the night is young.
Portugal’s capital is a city unique in its appearance and even more so in its nightlife. The bars of the Bairro Alto district are filling up as we speak so let us take you on a tour of the fine hostelries this fair city has to offer.
Rua de S. Paulo 75/77
Photo credit: A Tabacaria
While Bairro Alto does take the headlines when it comes to Lisbon’s nightlife, we’re starting in the riverside neighbourhood of Cais do Sodré and the hideaway bar of A Tabacaria. Put yourself in the shoes of a turn of the century poet, opening the saloon doors in search of a whisky to soothe their soul.
The dulcet notes of the jazz band play in the background as the smell of tobacco hangs in the air. This has been the atmosphere of A Tabacaria since 1865. Order a gin served in a brandy glass or pick from one of the multitude of cocktails and bask in a venue with a vibe befitting a 1920s speakeasy.
Calçada do Combro 115
In a city renowned for its rooftop views, it feels only natural that someone had the idea of combining this with a happening bar. That is exactly the case at Park. When you rock up to Calçada do Combro 115, don’t be confused to find being faced with a multi-storey car park – the garden-themed bar in at the top.
Grab a beer or a locally produced glass of wine and step out on to the veranda and drink in this incredible panoramic. Sit back with your ice cold Super Bock and look over a horizon of terracotta roofs and the 25 de Abril Bridge pinching the cloudless, azure skies in the distance. You’d be hard pushed to find a venue as picturesque as this.
Beco do Arco Escuro 1
If you love beer, then you are going to love Lisbon. The city is a haven of everything from craft brews to locally produced lagers, stouts and porters, IPAs and pilsners – the city is awash with choice when it comes to beer. And there is no better place to head than LisBeer.
Tucked away on Beco do Arco Escuro, is the little Aladdin’s Cave for beer-lovers. LisBeer claims to have the biggest selection in Lisbon with as many as 250 craft beers on offer. Peruse its huge beer menu, pair it with some cured meat and kick back in this little gem of the city.
The Old Pharmacy
83, R. do Diário de Notícias 73
Photo credit: The Old Pharmacy
Lisbon is full of unique bars and none more so than The Old Pharmacy which, funnily enough, is in an old pharmacy. Where LisBeer offered hundreds of different beer options, it’s all about wine here with patrons able to choose from over 200 different bottles of plonk.
The interior is one of the most eye-catching in the city with glass cabinets revealing its range of wine with the dimming lights creating an ambient mood. Each bottle of vino is paired with tapas recommendations so it would be rude not to sample local delicacies alongside your wine, wouldn’t it?
Clube da Esquina
R. Da Barroca 30
Photo credit: Clube da Esquina
We’re heading back to the Bairro Alto area to one of the most popular bars in Lisbon. Clube da Esquina brings together a wonderfully diverse clientele from all corners in the city. While it may be a little unassuming at first, open the doors to a lively scene of dance and electronic music.
The drinks flow long into the evening with a great selection of beers and, of course, the signature cocktail caipirinha – a Brazilian blended beverage of sugarcane liquor, sugar and lime. Don’t forget to sample a morangoska, another signature cocktail made from strawberries, vodka and sugar.
Tv. Santa Teresa 28
Photo credit: Foxtrot
Take a stroll through the quiet streets of the São Bento neighbourhood on an evening and you’ll hear the unmistakable sound of jazz filtering through the winding streets. There is somewhat of a local legend around here and it goes by the name of Foxtrot.
This is one of the oldest bars in Lisbon and is a beloved haunt by the residents of this corner of the Portuguese capital. While it may be inspired by the taverns of England, it retains that European charm with an art deco decor and spirit range to rival any other in the city. Take a seat, order an Old Fashioned and soak in this delightful atmosphere.
Tasca do Chico
R. do Diário de Notícias 39
Photo credit: Tasca do Chico
We’re ending this tour of Lisbon’s bar scene with somewhere traditionally Portuguese. Tasca do Chico is a cosy venue with one of the best wine lists in the city where you can enjoy a spot of tapas with a soundtrack of live fado.
The bar is famed for its fado sessions which take place every Monday and Wednesday. This style of music – translated as ‘fate’ in English – has been a part of Lisbon’s culture since the 1800s and gives a glimpse of Portugal’s soulful side. If you like your songs with a huge sense of melancholy and centred on longing then you won’t be forgetting your first fado session in a hurry.
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