Portugal Bars & Nightlife
Ginja de Alfama
12 Rua São Pedro, Alfama
Ginja is a kind of Portuguese liqueur made from sour cherries, which you'll be able to taste at this appropriately named bar and café in Alfama, along with some super affordable Portuguese food to soak it up. You can sit outside in the alley if you'd prefer, and the food comes out quickly.
Av. Infante D. Henrique, Armazém A, Cais da Pedra a Sta Apolónia, Alfama
One of Portugal's most popular venues, Lux Frágil has remained a fixture of Lisbon nightlife since opening in 1998. Located near the waterfront, with three distinct but connected areas—a club, a bar, and a rooftop lounge—the interior is a sleek and fashionable setting for weekly events consisting of mostly house, techno, and disco music, presented by an impressive selection of well-known DJs. If you’re not a hardcore dancer, you can stick to the upstairs bar, which is a bit more laid back. Beware: As one of Lisbon’s most famous clubs, the line gets pretty long on the weekends, so it's best to arrive on the earlier side.
72 Praça do Comércio, Baixa
If you're up for a night of dancing, make your way to the Ministerium, where you'll find the perfect pairing of old and new Lisbon. The space, which once housed the Portuguese Ministry of Finance, was transformed a few years ago into a cantina by day and nighttime modern dance club, where 18th-century vaulted ceilings meet modern dance music (with some of the best techno-electronic DJs from Lisbon and around the world), all conveniently located near Lisbon’s largest square, the Praça do Comércio. Most dance spots in Lisbon don't get going until after midnight, and this one keeps going until 6am.
V89 R. Dom Pedro, Príncipe Real
Filled with small gadgets, figurines, and toys from the early twentieth century, this five-room bar is the perfect setting for a conversation over a drink or two. The vibe is super relaxed—not at all scene-y—with lots of comfortable seating. Even if you're not in the mood for a drink, it's worth it to at least go inside and take a peek at it unique décor.
19 R. do Alecrim, Bairro Alto
The name of this eclectic spot translates roughly into “Love House”, a reference to its provocative past: The intimate little bar was built inside an 18-century bordello. Elaborate décor reflects this heritage, with furniture upholstered in rich red velvet, frescos spread across the ceiling, and walls adorned with mirrors, vintage paintings, and posters of burlesque women. (The club also features live burlesque shows, in a room appropriately decorated in gold and leopard print.)
58 Calçada do Combro, Bairro Alto
Park Bar was once a rooftop parking lot (and it's still perched on top of one), to which it owes its ample space and concrete floor, but little else: This sleek, hip spot is completely transformed with wood furniture, nice evening lighting, and—like many others of Lisbon's best—a great view of the Tagus River. While a drink with this view is enough of a reason to stop by, Park also has a steady rotation of live music, good DJs, and outdoor movie screenings.
56 Rua Dom Pedro V, Príncipe Real
To get to this quirky terrace bar and café, you'll first navigate a maze-like Indian clothing store via the back door before being met with its stunning rooftop view. Comfortable outdoor seating, shaded by colorful umbrellas, makes for a tranquil environment perfect for an afternoon drink or a light meal.
1200-026 R. António Maria Cardoso 58, Chiado
From the same man behind the Michelin-starred Belcanto, Portuguese chef José Avillez, Mini Bar is an unsurprisingly inventive and hip tapas restaurant, where your meal progresses in five stages of small plates in a lively, retro dining room. Presentation-heavy bites range from green apple margaritas—which are solid enough to be considered bites to be eaten, not sipped—to Algarve prawns in ceviche, served on a slice of lime topped with with beetroot and fried corn. While the menu isn't exactly cheap (and you can always stop by for just a drink or a snack), it's a more affordable way to experience Chef Avillez's award-winning gastronomical fare, while tasting as many of his creations as possible.
63 Rua Dom Pedro V, Príncipe Real
This laid-back bar occupies a tiny space that's made to feel more spacious with the liberal use of mirrors on each wall and emerald subway tiling that approximates a wainscoting along the walls and the bar. During the week when it's a little sleepy in here, set up at one of the bar chairs or one of a few small tables in the front for bar snacks, sandwiches, and a menu that shows the breadth of Portugal's growing craft beer movement. On Friday and Saturday nights, the space fills up with locals, who you'll find lingering out in the street when the bar itself gets too crowded.
1 Rua Marachal Saldanha, Bairro Alto
In the same building as the Pharmacy Museum, the owners of Pharmacia went long on their theme. The walls here are lined with medicine cabinets, each filled with antique pill bottles, vials, and boxes of medication. The food (a classically Portuguese menu) is perfectly good, but we really come here for the cocktails, named for prescriptions (Ibuprofen, Morphine, LSD) and served in beakers. Anything on ice is brought to the table in a first-aid-kit-turned-ice-bucket, and water is served in an Erlenmeyer flask. Ask for a seat on patio, which is flanked by old, pastel-pink buildings and looks out over the water.
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