Bairro Alto is the first place to go for nightlife, where a plethora of small bars and clubs fills the side streets. In particular, Rua do Norte, Rua do Diario Noti-cias, and Rua Atalaia have many small clubs packed into three short blocks, making club-hopping as easy as crossing the street. Several gay and lesbian clubs are found between Pr. de Camoes and Tv. da Queimada, as well as in the Rato area near the edge of Bairro Alto. During the later hours, Avenida 24 de Julho and the Rua das Janeias Verdes in the Santos area have some of the most popular bars and clubs. Newer hot spots include the area along the river across from the Santa Apolo’nia train station. There’s no reason to arrive before midnight; crowds flow in around 2am and stay until dawn.
SUCH SWEET SORROW
Lisbon’s trademark is fado, an art combining singing and narrative poetry. The Bairro Alto has several fado joints off R. da Misericordia and on streets by the Igreja de Sao Roque. Here, fado singer Sara Reis describes her interpretation of the musical genre for Let’s Go.
Fado comes from the Latin, fatum, which means destiny. It’s a feeling that is born with us. Either you understand it or you don’t. I do because I was born in the middle of fadistas. At home I never heard Rock n’ Roll, and by the time I reached age 7, I was already singing fado. To feel fado in its totality is to understand life-its love, death, birth, passion, hatred. It’s very complex. In order to really feel fado, you have to have reached a certain level of maturity and suffering. There you have it. Fado is nostalgia. In my opinion, it is one of the most revolutionary kinds of music. It was created by and for the people…l have already heard young girls no older than 16 sing about life in a way that would move you with emotion. And, on the other hand, I’ve heard old fado singers 50 years old sing from here (points to her head). It alt depends on the sensibility and ability of the person.
Lux, Av. Infante D. Henrique A. Take a taxi to the area across from the St. Apolo’nia train station. In a class of its own, Lux continues to be the hottest spot in Lisbon since its opening in 1998. Beer ‚1.50-2.50. Min. purchase ‚10. Open Tu-Sa 6pm-6am; arrive after 2am.
Speakeasy, Docas de St. Amaro, between the Santos and Alcantara stops, next to the river. More of a concert with waiters and beer than a bar, Speakeasy is Lisbon’s premiere jazz and blues center. Live shows every night, with famous national and international performers once a month. Beer ‚3. Open M-Sa 8pm-4am.
Salsa Latina, Gare Maritima de Alcantara, across the parking lot from the cluster at Doca de Santo Amaro. Sophisticated crowds come for the live salsa on weekends. Terrace with a view of the river. Min. purchase ‚10. Open M-Th 8-1 lpm, F-Sa 8pm-4am.
Trumps, R. Imprensa Nacional 104B, in the Bairro Alto. Lisbon’s biggest gay club features several bars in addition to a massive dance floor. Min. purchase ‚10. Open Su andTu-Th ll:30pm-4:30am, F-Sa midnight-6:30am.
Clandestino, R. da Barroca 99. Cavernous bar with messages scrawled by former patrons on its rock walls. Beer ‚1.50. Mixed drinks ‚3. Open Su and Tu-Sa 10pm-2am.
A Capela, R. Atalaia 45. A spacious bar with gold walls and red velvet cushions. Popular in the late hours. Beer ‚3. Mixed drinks ‚5. Open daily 9pm-2am.
Resto, R. Costa do Castelo 7. Huge outdoor patio with the best view of the city. Restaurant serves Argentine steaks (‚12), New Zealand lamb chops (‚15), and Spanish tapas (‚4). At night, fills with a young crowd. Live Portuguese guitar F-Su. Caipirinhas ‚4. Beer ‚1.30. Open daily 7:30pm-2am.
Suave, R. do Diario de Noticias 4-6. Well-dressed guests schmooze to jazz and soul on weekends and a mix during the week. Beer ‚2. Open daily 10pm-2am.
Indochina, R. Cintura do Porto de Lisboa, Armazem H, next to the train tracks. A 10-min. walk from the Santos station. Far East decorations give it a classy feel. Open Th-Sa ll:30pm-6am.
OP Art, R. da Cozinha Economia 11, under the 25 de Abril bridge. The only cafebar disco right on the river. Beer ‚3. Open Su and Tu-Sa noon-4:00am.
Portas Largas, R. Atalaia 105, at the end ofTv. da Queimada. Mixed crowd. Popular with Bairro’s gay community. Portuguese music before midnight and techno afterward. Open July-Sept. 7pm-3:30am; Oct.-June 8pm-3:30am.
Kapital, Av. 24 de Julho 68. The classiest club in Lisbon, with a ruthless door policy that makes admission a competitive sport. 3 floors, with a nice terrace on top and a dance floor. Cover ‚15. Open M-Sa llpm-6am.
Kremlin, Escandinhas da Praia 5, off Av. 24 de Julho next to Kapital. Harsh door policy. Set in a former bishop’s residence, Kremlin has giant plastic statues and 3 rooms with throbbing house and dance music. Cover ‚5 for women and ‚10 for men, includes 1 drink. Open Tu-W midnight-6am, Th midnight-8am, and F-Sa midnight-9:30am.
Mezcal, on the corner of Tv. Agua da Flor and R. do Diario de Noticias. Tiny Mexican bar with the cheapest drinks in Bairro Alto. Tacos, burritos, and nachos ‚2-4. Sangria ‚1.80. Caipirinhas ‚2.80. Shots ‚2. Margaritas ‚2. Open daily 7pm-2am.
Solar do Vinho do Porto, R. Sao Pedro de Alcantara 45, at the top of the steps through the large doorway. Sip port and eat fancy cheese served by a tuxedoed wait staff. Port from ‚1 to ‚20, depending on age and quality. Open M-Sa 2pm-midnight.
Mahjong, R. Atalaia 3. Located at the corner of R. Atalaia and Tv. das Merces. The artistically inclined come for the cheap shots (‚2). Open daily 9:30pm-4am.
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