Lisbon’s most famous café opened in 1905 selling the “genuine Brazilian coffee”. It is told that the bica, an espresso that the locals drink all the time, was invented here.
With the establishment of the Portuguese Republic in 1910, A Brasileira became a meeting point for Portuguese intellectuals, writers and artists, including Fernando Pessoa, Mário de Sá-Carneiro and Almada-Negreiros that brought Modernism into the Portuguese literary scene through the literary magazine Orpheu.
Fernando Pessoa, said to enjoy absinthe and the bica while smoking frenetically, was a regular client of A Brasileira. A bronze statue of the poet by the sculptor Lagoa Henriques was placed outside the café in 1988. Seat next to it on the terrace, and watch the street entertainers and Chiado’s hustle and bustle.
The real appeal, though, is the café’s old-style interior with its decorated ceiling and a collection of eleven paintings by Portuguese artists. Prices are cheaper here than on the terrace, especially if you stand at the bar.