Bairro Alto is central in Lisbon’s nightlife, being the area with the highest concentration of bars and clubs, followed closely by Cais do Sodré and 24 de Julho.
Lisbon nightlife is diverse, and in Bairro Alto there is something for everyone. Go out into the night for an unpretentious, affordable, and unforgettable bar hopping experience. Here are 10 of the best places to check out in Bairro Alto.
Rua da Atalaia, 45
Capela combines a gospel ambience, created by a decor of red curtains, gold frame mirrors, dusty chandeliers and a sousaphone, with DJs adding electronic moods and grooves. This is where the night starts for many artists and intellectuals in Lisbon.
Rua da Atalaia, 126
11pm-4am, Tuesday to Saturday
Frágil is a classic in Bairro Alto. When it first opened in 1982, it was one of the few gay-friendly clubs in Lisbon, though not an “all-gay” place. Frágil is still popular today, especially from 1am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays when a queue begins to form outside. The club has a strict door policy. Inside, DJs focus on electronic and house progressive.
3. The Old Pharmacy
Rua do Diário de Notícias, 73-81
Once a pharmacy, this wine bar offers a variety of Portuguese wines by the glass, as well as expert advice from waiters. It has a small cosy interior, with the old pharmacy cabinets now storing bottles of wine, as well as outdoor sitting. There’s a menu of petiscos (small bites) to go with the wine.
4. Wine Lover
Rua das Gáveas, 38 / Rua da Misericórdia, 59
12.00pm-midnight, Tuesday to Sunday
With an extensive list of wines by the glass accompanied by petiscos, this wine bar is a popular place in Bairro Alto, perfect for a late afternoon chill out. There’s an adjoined restaurant, but the wine bar is the recommended spot.
Rua Diário de Notícias, 95
4.30pm-2am, Tuesday to Sunday
Wine by the glass with a jazz and blues soundtrack is what Artis offers. The place is tiny, so come prepared to sit close to other tables. However, the wooden décor creates the right ambience to drink wine and taste a selection of petiscos, including the platter of cheeses and sausages, fried potatoes, sautéed shrimps, and the legendary chicken sandwich.
6. Páginas Tantas
Rua Diário de Notícias, 85
Páginas Tantas is a classic jazz bar in Bairro Alto, with live shows from Tuesday to Saturday. There’s no cover fee, you just pay what you drink.
Rua da Atalaia, 3
Mahjong is one of the oldest bars in Bairro Alto. With Chinese motifs, it offers a great ambience lit by the weirdly beautiful cabbage chandeliers. This is a great spot to start the night with a cocktail to the sound of a varied soundtrack featuring techno, rock and reggae.
8. Maria Caxuxa
Rua da Barroca, 6
5pm-2am, Monday to Saturday
DJs combine lounge and electronic music in the nights of Maria Caxuxa. Except for Friday and Saturday nights when the place gets crowded, Maria Caxuxa has plenty of space and big sofas where you can hang out with friends.
9. Tasca do Chico
Rua Diário de Notícias, 39
Tasca do Chico is a popular fado house with a peculiar decor featuring football scarves and pictures of notable clients. Authentic “amateur” fado singers perform every night. Arrive early if you want to get a table.
10. A Tasca Tequila Bar
Travessa da Queimada, 13
6pm-2am, Monday to Saturday
This is a classic Tequila bar on a corner of Bairro Alto. The street is actually a natural extension of the tiny place that brings a bit of Mexico into Lisbon. The most adventurous ones can try the spicy tequila and mescal cocktails.