Go Lisbon Blog has recently told you about Bairro Alto’s new Bubbly and 100 Maneiras restaurants, but that neighborhood has been receiving a number of other new residents in the last few months. As Lisbon’s alternative to the shopping malls and chain stores downtown, Bairro Alto is the place for the quirkiest, most unique shops in the city. The fact that many of them stay open until midnight further helps make the neighborhood an increasingly popular shopping area. Now, joining the streetwear boutiques, the music stores, and the interior design shops are a number of new businesses worth checking out. Here are ten of them:
UPDATE: THIS SHOP HAS CLOSED
Travessa da Espera,18
Three of Portugal’s top fashion designers have gotten together to open a shop entirely dedicated to Portuguese creations. The idea is to promote and expand Portuguese fashion, and at this new Bairro Alto boutique you’ll find accessories such as sunglasses, belts, and purses, as well as perfumes, ceramics, and other products at reasonable prices to reach a market that can’t always afford designer items.
2. GDE Galeria de Exclusivos – Matéria Prima
Rua da Rosa, 195/197
This is really a space shared by two shops. It’s a fashion and accessories boutique offering pieces by Portuguese designers, but also a music, books, and magazine shop. On the boutique section you’ll find designer pieces using recycled materials, meaning everything you see is unique, special, and of a limited edition. As for the music shop, the books, DVD, and magazines you find next to the musical selections are also mostly music-related, much of it about electronic sounds.
3. Onitsuka Tiger – Sneakers Delight
Rua do Norte, 32
The Japanese brand’s first shop in Portugal opened in Bairro Alto so that it could better reach the market that wears its slightly alternative clothing and footwear. Although it’s been in existence for six decades now, this brand’s styles are very much contemporary and youthful, which is just what the typical Bairro Alto shopper looks for.
4. The Hood
Rua do Norte, 65
Exclusive and limited editions of Nike footwear is all that you’ll find at this new shop. When you get a pair of sneakers here, chances are very few other people you meet will be wearing the same, as everything sold here will not be found at any other shop in the country.
5. A Fabrica dos Chapeus
Rua da Rosa, 118
Except for baseball caps, hats have pretty much gone out of style since the 1950s. Maybe they’ll make a comeback with shops like Bairro Alto’s new A Fabrica dos Chapeus (“The Hat Factory”) which offers more than 300 styles. There’s one for every personality and wallet, as they can cost as little as 5 to as much as 50 euros.
6. Antes e Depois
Travessa da Espera, 47
The name of the shop means “Before and After,” and what you’ll find in it is really a trip to the past and back to the present. There are vintage toys that used to bring much joy to children before the era of the video games, most of them traditional Portuguese toys. They’re recreations of 1950s to 90s originals, so don’t expect to find children at the shop. This is really for adults looking to relive their childhood through their kids, or really for the child in all of us.
Rua de O Século, 19
It used to be located uptown, but it moved to Bairro Alto because that’s where its typical customer usually hangs out at. That’s someone who’s a movie buff or pop culture geek, who enjoys collecting movie posters, postcards, t-shirts, and pretty much anything related to the world of cinema.
8. Zeppelin Vintage
UPDATE: THIS SHOP HAS CLOSED
Rua da Rosa, 40
As you can tell by the name, this is a vintage shop. It offers original furniture, mostly from the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and the United States, dating from the 1950s to 80s. And they’re no ordinary pieces – these are designer creations.
9. Pérola das Gaveas
Rua das Gáveas 44-46
Opened last December, this is a modern gourmet shop with a traditional/retro look (it used to be a neighborhood grocery shop). It offers Portuguese wines, jams, olive oils, cheeses, teas, and regional specialties from around Portugal.
10. Bairru’s Bodega
Rua da Barroca, 3
It’s not a shop, but it’s new. OK, so it’s been open for a few months now, but many still don’t know that this is one of the best daytime bars in the city, the perfect place for a glass of Portuguese wine at the end of the work day. There isn’t much room inside, but that’s actually perfect, since that may force you to stand outside and watch the Bairro Alto day get started (meaning night in this neighborhood). To be soaked up by the alcohol there are cheeses and hams, and everything is accompanied by an all-Portuguese soundtrack playing in the background.