Bar-hopping and dancing the night away
A sunset in Lisbon does not mean it's the end of the day (especially on a weekend or a typical summer night). For many, the day
is just beginning and many bars haven't even opened their doors yet.
A typical evening might start in the cafes of Chiado, serving as meeting points before heading to a restaurant for a long, relaxed dinner in the Bairro Alto quarter. It is the epicenter of the city's bar scene and where most of the nighttime action takes place.
Venues range from the hip
("Bedroom"), to the quirky ("Pavilhão Chines"), to
the laid-back ("Clube da Esquina"). Most close between 2 and
4AM, when it is time to move down by the river to the docks of
Alcantara and the district of Santos, home to several fashionable bars and clubs. The
attractive setting of the docks is a pleasant place to stay and watch the
sun rise to the sounds emanating from "Op Art," a bar with a
view that stays open well into dawn on weekends. Best of all is ending your
night (or beginning your day) on the dancefloor or sipping a cocktail on the
terrace of the city's most stylish club, "Lux," partly owned
by Hollywood actor John Malkovich and often hailed as Europe's best-designed club.
Lisbon is fast gaining a reputation as one of Europe's trendiest cities, and it's an established favorite with the international DJ set. The young European crowd has joined the party, with many young Spaniards, Italians, and Brits visiting the city specifically for its nightlife. It caters to everyone, offering everything from house to electronica, to 1920's-style jazz bars, to a flourishing gay scene.
If clubbing isn't your scene, classical music is well represented at various venues such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Culturgest. The city's several beautiful old theaters, especially Dona Maria II National Theater, present experimental contemporary works and classical plays, and for opera, look into Sao Carlos Theater.
For some local flavor, spend a candlelit evening at a Fado House, ranging from elegant restaurants to downmarket taverns with live Fado performers. Many have lost their authenticity (bordering on the tacky), and are targeted at tourists (clustered in Bairro Alto), but there are still some genuine Fado establishments in Alfama and Lapa (home to "Senhor Vinho," the best of them all). Fado remains a lively part of the city's culture, and is a must for any first-time visitor.
The major concert venues are Atlantic Pavillion and Coliseu dos Recreios, often hosting some of the world's top bands and artists. For other cultural events, check out the extensive program of Belem Cultural Center, and consult the monthly Follow Me Lisboa guide provided by the tourism office, listing all the major happenings in the city.
For a selection of the city's best bars, clubs, and Fado Houses, see the links on the left.
10 Best Nighttime Options
- Club Lux - the city's most stylish club
- Bairro Alto bar hop - Lisbon's lively street party
- Docas - cosmopolitan bars in an attractive setting
- Chapitô - drink among young artists and with the best nighttime city views at this restaurant-bar
- Senhor Vinho - the city's best Fado House
- Pavilhão Chinês - the city's most eclectic bar
- Solar do Vinho do Porto - sample the country's famous wine
- Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation - world-class classical music program
- Op Art - watch the sun rise to the sound of music
- Cinco Lounge - The best cocktails in town.
GoLisbon.com Recommends... HOTELS for Night Owls
HOTEL DO CHIADO
- Go up the hilly street from outside this hotel and you have all the cafes of Chiado and the bars of Bairro Alto.
- Simple hotel but with one of the best locations in town, above Cafe Brasileira, the starting point for a night out in Bairro Alto.
- Located in Rossio Square, you're just a short uphill climb away from all the Bairro Alto bars.
HOTEL SUIÇO ATLÂNTICO
- Take the Gloria funicular from outside the door of this hotel or go up the hill yourself, and you'll be in Bairro Alto in one minute...
Stay at one of the modern apartments in Bairro Alto or Chiado.