The Portuguese capital has a friendly, colourful energy and nowhere is this more apparent than in the city’s buzzing nightlife. Over the last 3 weeks we have been checking out some of the popular drinking spots (a tough job I know). And here is my selection of the best bars in Lisbon. From hidden cocktail bars to rooftop terraces and wine cellars these places will point you in the right direction for a great night out. At the weekend crowds of people hang out in the streets of the Barrio Alto district. After midnight they migrate down to Cais do Sodre until the early hours. Lisbon is a beautiful city with a mishmash of architecture styles attractively lit after dark. So, pick a couple of places and enjoy wandering the windy, hilly streets in between bars. Cheers!
5a Rua do Salitre, Principe Real | Reservations: +351 21 583 1120 | 18:00-02:00 – Closed Sunday
A glamorous speakeasy style cocktail bar, just off Avenida da Liberdade. You must ring the bell under the red frog and the hostess comes to open the door. You are then taken downstairs, which is (very) dimly lit. The vibe is stylish and international. Cocktails are innovative and service is friendly. I had the Alchemist which was pretty good but my Aussie had the Gin Mare which was better. There is a smoking section in the middle of the narrow room but the extraction system looked pretty powerful. (Both cocktails were €9.50)
89 Rua Dom Pedro V – Barrio Alto| Reservations: +351 21 342 4729 | Mon-Sat 18:00 – 02:00, Sun 21:00 – 02:00
The unique, crazy decor makes Pavilhão Chinês one to visit. Five rooms, full of one man’s collection of objects. Dark wood and glass cabinets house thousands of items including miniature action men, military artefacts, medals, fans. Toy helicopters and old cups and beer mugs hang from the ceiling. Maps and paintings adorn all walls and huge chandeliers are hung in small spaces. Old school service from waiters in red waistcoats and an enormous classic cocktail and drinks list. Snooker tables in the back. Lots of tourists. On the same side of the street were two overflowing restaurants, Coyo Taco and Tapisco. Seemed like plenty of Portuguese so I can only assume they’d be good to grab a bite in; if hunger strikes. (Caipiroska + Gin Martini €10 each)
76 Rua da Misericórdia, Barrio Alto | Reservations: +351 919 835 036 | Thurs-Sat 16:00-02:30, Sun-Weds 16:00 – 00:00
Sleek tea and cocktail fusion bar in the 9Hotel Mercy. Sophisticated, glamorous design by the Portuguese-based, Miguel Saraiva International Studio. Buttery soft dark brown banquettes are contrasted with golden velvet chairs and gold details. A luminous fabric tube snakes around the ceiling. Good cocktails; my Aussie had El Mariachi, a tequila, mezcal, smoky blend but I won with my Pisco Punch: Pisco, pineapple, bb detox tea and ginger….yep detoxing whilst drinking alcohol – perfect! Also a good looking tea menu. We were in there on a weekday around 18.00 and it was quiet ,but service was very friendly and the free snacks were good.
The Old Pharmacy
73-81 Rua do Diario de Noticias – Barrio Alto | Reservations: +351 920 230 989 | 17:30-00:00
The premises of this wine bar used to be pharmacy. The white, glass fronted cupboards that once housed the drugs are now filled with bottles of wine. These are lit with colour changing bulbs which adds to the ambiance. Sit at one of the barrel tables and order from the purely Portuguese wine list. A great place to try the famous wines of the Duoro Valley alongside local wines from the Lisbon area and wines from the southern Alentejo region. By the glass or by the bottle plus petiscos (Portuguese tapas) including hams, cheeses and other snacks. I really liked the relaxed vibe in here plus good people watching in the street outside. Good size, good value wine list.
Side note: If you are young then the neighbouring street is the place to go. Hordes of young people filled this street and others in the Barrio Alto at 11pm on a Friday in January, so I can only imagine how fun it’d be in summer. Drinking out of plastic cups in the road is not really my thing anymore though, so I was glad to take shelter (and a seat) in the Old Pharmacy 🙂
By The Wine
41-43 Rua das Flores – Chiado | Reservations: +351 213 420 319 | 12:00-00:00, Mon 18:00-00:00
This is a must if you are a wine lover. The eye-catching design features hundreds of empty bottles creating an arched ceiling over the bar. The place has a wine cellar feel which is pretty apt considering it was opened by one of Portugal’s largest wine producers – José Maria da Fonseca. The whole list is available by the glass or by the bottle plus it also operates an off-licence. Lot’s of options at under €5 a glass and a fair few under €3. Plus there are some big hitters on the all Portuguese list. They let you try the wine first even for a glass and if it’s not for you then they’ll suggest something else. Food ranges from ceviche and carpaccio to plates of cheese and charcuterie (€9 – €18). There is seating at the long bar, on tables of two alongside it or larger tables through the back.
2 Praça Luís de Camões, 5th Floor – Barrio Alto | Reservations: +351 213 340 253 | 07:00-00:00
Lisbon is set on seven hills, so there are several stunning vista points around the city. In addition there are also many rooftop bars. We were here in February so our rooftop drinking was pretty limited. However we enjoyed a sunset beverage at the rooftop terrace at the 5* Barrio Alto Hotel. Classy, boutique hotel vibe with comfortable seating and good size tables. Great view of rooftops, the river and the bridge. Expect trouble getting a table in the warmer weather. A light menu is served between 12:30 and 00:00 or head to the hotel’s main restaurant. The kitchen and menus are overseen by Nuno Mendes. (Bloody Mary + glass of Vinho Verde = €18)
Rua Rodrigues Faria, nº 103 LX Factory – Alcântara | Reservations: +351 966 028 229 | Tues 18:00-02:00, Wed-Thurs 12:30-2:00, Fri-Sat 12:30-04:00, Sun 12:30-18:00
For a completely different rooftop vibe head to Rio Maravilha in the LX Factory. An old factory tea-room has been turned into a bar/resto/music venue. I’d describe the design as urban, industrial boho and it has a laidback, cool, alternative vibe much like the whole LX Factory project. Drinks and food are pretty good and early on a Saturday afternoon a DJ was playing lowkey beats. Apparently they also often have live music. However, the real draw are the views of the Christo Rei statue, Abril 25 suspension bridge and the River Tejo. The entry is not easy to find: inside one of the old warehouse towards the river end, take the old elevator to the 4th floor. Definitely recommend for a drink after checking out the shops and eateries downstairs. (€€)
Mercado da Ribera: aka Time Out Market
49 Avenida 24 de Julho – Cais do Sodre | Sun-Thurs 10:00-00:00, Fri-Sat 10:00-2:00
In 2014 Time Out magazine took over half of this traditional market on Cais do Sodre. They installed chefs from some of the best eateries in Lisbon. These little food stalls set around a central seating area are great for sampling a dish or two from some of the city’s most popular kitchens. It is also a great place to grab a drink with a bar offering beer, wine and cocktails plus additional beer and wine counters. It is a great place to check out the city’s gastronomic scene and the atmosphere gets better as it starts filling up. Particularly good for a weekend daytime drink. It is quite bright in there.
Tasca do Chico
39 Rua do Diario de Noticias – Barrio Alto | Reservations: +351 961 339 696 | Sun – Thurs 19:00-02:00
Tasco do Chico is a traditional Portuguese bar. Its ceiling is hung with football scarves and the wooden walls are covered in photos of Fado singers. There was a real blend of Portuguese and foreigners when we were in at around midnight on a Friday. This is a well known Fado bar. Fado is a Portuguese style of singing that originated in Lisbon. A male or female vocalist is accompanied by guitarists, the songs are quite powerful – sometimes sad and sometimes joyful. No sooner than we had got our drinks, someone lifted a guitar down from the wall, the lights dimmed, the door was locked and we got to hear a few songs. Great atmosphere and inexpensive drinks. We were lucky to get a table, I hear it can get very busy. (Don’t think the food is up to much so probably best to eat elsewhere). (€)
Sol e Pesca
44 Rua Nova do Carvalho – Cais do Sodre | Mon – Thurs 12:00-2:00, Fri – Sat 12:00-04:00
Down on Pink Street you will find bars that are lively from early in the evening until late at night. Sol e Pesca (Sun + Fishing) is one of these. It used to be a fishing tackle shop and the current owner has decorated the walls and ceiling with rods, nets, bait and tackle. One wall is full of colourful cans of fish, which is a bit of a Portuguese speciality. The menu largely consists of these cans. The drinks list is a fairly simple mix of beer and wine and the vibe is very laid back. People spill out into the streets. Chairs and tables are very low….like kids school furniture. If this is full then try next door at Livraria-Bar Menina e Moça – along a similar line but in a bookstore. (Glass of reserve wine + a large (draft) beer = €8 )