Dancing and Partying in Lisbon
In the 1990s, Lisbon established a reputation as one of Europe's main clubbing cities. Things have slowed down a bit in the last few years, but whether your preference is dancing to house or to the sounds of a live band, the city provides a full range of clubs.
The major dance spots are concentrated near the river on Avenida 24 de
Julho (between downtown and Belem), in the
docklands below 25
de Abril Bridge to the west, and across from Santa Apolonia train station
Since most locals begin the night with a long dinner and bar-hopping for
hours, the dancing clubs only really get going after 2AM, and no real
hard-core reveler leaves before dawn. Admission is usually between 10 and 20 euros and most clubs are only open on Friday and Saturday nights.
A couple of clubs in residential areas are very low-key and you must ring a bell to get
in -- Fragil and Incognito.
On the riverfront, Lux remains the hotspot, but there's now new competition in Comercio Square, at Ministerium Club and Lust. More details below.
Rua da Cintura do Porto de Lisboa, 226
Catering to all crowds, this place is filled with varied sounds from
pop to trance, but also largely African beats due to its strong Angolan presence. Large sofas and
comfortable armchairs allow you to relax and sip a drink before you step into the dance floor.
It's open on Friday and Saturday nights and also on Tuesdays for the still-popular Ladies' Night.
(www.fragil.com.pt) Rua da Atalaia, 128, Bairro
Fragil is really a bar with a small dance floor. It's a landmark in
Lisbon's nightlife, as it was one of the city's first clubs when it opened
in 1983. Its popularity has dwindled, but still gets packed on Saturdays by
a largely gay but essentially mixed crowd in a feel-good atmosphere.
It's a lively place often with special events and DJs spinning electronic beats, although it
doesn't really get going until around 2AM (ring the bell for admission).
(www.incognitobar.com) - Rua
dos Polais de São Bento, 37, Bairro Alto
Appropriately named, this split-level club has no name on the door, and
you must ring a doorbell to get in. It's one of the city's oldest clubs and
its music has changed little since its first days, often spinning 80s, indie,
alt-pop, and techno. It's a friendly place, and still a popular choice for
a wide range of people looking for alternative sounds. Upstairs is a loft
bar, while the basement is a noisy/crowded dance floor.
It's rather selective at the door but it's worth trying to make it inside, as it's on one of the most central locations in the city, in one of the wings of Comercio Square's arcades. It opens from Thursday to Saturday.
Infante Dom Henrique, Doca do Jardim do Tabaco, Alfama
Partly owned by Hollywood actor John Malkovich, this is Lisbon's hippest
club and one of Europe's most fashionable (especially when it comes to the interior design), having attracted visiting stars
like Cameron Diaz and Prince. It couldn't be a more stylish place, with a
spacious interior decorated with funky and retro furniture.
Top DJs spin cutting-edge music downstairs in a frenzied dance floor, while
the top floor has a more relaxed vibe with an alternative soundtrack.
balcony running around the building overlooks the river, while a breezy
rooftop terrace is a great place to watch the sun rise early in the morning.
As expected, everyone tries to come here, so
expect highly selective doormen and long queues on weekends.
Avenida 24 de Julho, 68
It was the popular "Kapital" for two decades but changed to "Main" in late 2012. It's been revived as a popular weekend spot attracting 20- and 30-somethings into the space divided into different areas, including a restaurant.
Opening on Saturdays, this is one of the best clubs in the city to catch international DJs. The house and techno mixes are danced to under the vaulted ceilings of one of Comercio Square's 18th-century wings.
(http://www.musicboxlisboa.com) - Rua Nova Do Carvalho, 24
Located in the seedy-chic red light district of Cais do Sodré, this is a trendy hotspot for live bands and DJs. Managed by a record label, it also hosts video and film projections, making this also a cultural destination at night.
OP ART CAFE
(www.opartcafe.com) Doca de Santo
A small square-shaped building standing below 25 de Abril Bridge is a
cafe during the day, but turns into a music club at night. With such a
stunning location, you can come for a light meal on the terrace alongside
the river before sunset, or watch the sun come up in the early morning to
the sounds of electronica and chilled out house music (it closes at 6AM on
weekends). It's the best nightspot option at the docks.
Escadinhas da Praia, 3 (by Avenida 24 de Julho)
A survivor from the 90s, it's still the place for 80's and 90's music - the ideal choice for those who enjoy pop
and mainstream sounds.
Gay Bars & Clubs