The 14 best Lisbon bars
The best speakeasy in town, this place is inspired by Prohibition-era bars in the US and has a clandestine air – not least because it is in a basement and you must ring the bell to be let in. (There’s even a secret extra room: just ask to be shown it.) The drinks list was drawn up by some of the city’s finest bartenders and is constantly changing, helping Red Frog place on lists of the world’s best bars. So when it comes to choosing your drink, just put yourself in their good hands and try something new.
From the alcohol alchemists of the award-winning Red Frog comes a new, exciting cocktail extravaganza called Monkey Mash. It’s a tropical modern cocktail bar that prides itself on the use of exotic spirits and its experimental approach. Tequila and cachaça are at the heart of every cocktail and visitors should expect a lot of funky surprises.
Undoubtedly the finest bar in the old-school Chiado neighbourhood for a drink before dinner for two. It’s a quiet spot with art on the walls, nice music, a real cocktail menu and good service. The finest tables are located near the windows, which are always open and have a view towards the Largo de Camões and the tourists in line for the number 28 tram.
The name means ‘Love Boarding House’ : a nod to the building’s past as a place of business for sex workers and their clients. Trendy locals now flock here to see and be seen in the over-the-top lounge bar – a sort of decadent tea room, open from late afternoon – and attached rooms, which include an old-fashioned disco. There are occasional concerts and the background music is eclectic.
Open since February 18, 1986, the five rooms of Pavilhão Chinês are dedicated to its founder Luis Pinto Coelho’s unbelievable collection of objects. The collection includes helmets from WW2, toy soldiers, miniature aeroplanes, some of Bordalo Pinheiro’s distinctive ceramics, Betty Boops and Action Men. The snooker table and tie-wearing waiters invoke older times. If you want to impress your tourist friends, this is one of the best places in town .
In full flow since 2015, this restaurant-bar-venue hybrid has singlehandedly given Graça a nightlife scene, luring many a nightcrawler away from Bairro Alto to an even steeper hill. The music events are varied – including African music, electronica and indie rock – and entry is usually free, with the bar serving tasty appetisers as well as craft beer. The original ovens of this former bakery still feature in the gig room of this unique meeting point.
Constança Cordeiro is a phenomenon who moved from London last year, after spending three years there perfecting her mixology skills. Her cocktails are based on Portuguese fresh produce and influenced by foraging. Her small establishment near the Largo do Carmo centres on a marble bar where 12 people can sit and try original drinks such as Tágide (gin, olive oil, elderberry, Mateus Rosé, €11), or Abelha, (Macallan 12, honey and figtree leaves, €12).
This roomy Bairro Alto-style bar near Cais do Sodré has moderate prices, an unkempt and youngish crowd and interesting musical events. On regular nights, decent DJs spin an underground mix of electro and minimal techno, and there’s the occasional themed party. Be warned: it’s packed inside and out at weekends, when ordering a drink can be a challenge.
The bar attached to art space Galeria Zé dos Bois (which often hosts concerts of experimental music) is found up a flight of stairs. It is very LGBTQ+-friendly and hosts regular DJ sets – and people who really let themselves go on the floor when the right music is on – plus other events.
Cinco Lounge is an after-hours drinks bar for the kind of people who work very, very late (think doctors and the like). It only opens at 9pm. But any time is a good time to enjoy the creations of the great Dave Palethorpe and his team, and to soak up the atmosphere in what was Lisbon’s first real cocktail bar. This is a place where you should trust the bartenders and try original stuff such as Lose Your Licence (€10) or Hot Tub (€8), both of them based on rum.
In a decaying mansion that has housed all manner of clubs and associations over the past century or so, this is the latest (and probably the liveliest) incarnation. The large front ‘Tiger Room’ hosts gigs and DJ sets, there are various small rooms that are good for a chat or a spot of work, and the café and back patio are great places to relax. The bar serves a good range of teas, fresh juices and cocktails, while finger food is served until midnight.
The Portuguese title for the Sergio Leone film ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ provided the name for this ambitious project, hinting at its multifaceted nature: bar, restaurant, film club and music venue, with concerts or DJ sets daily. In contrast to most Lisbon bars, where house and electronica rule, here soul, funk, afrobeat and jazz dominate. Several rooms feature striking murals by local artists.
Coffee is the main ingredient in this new Martim Moniz cocktail bar. A cosy place for people looking to get off the beaten path, its concept is tied to the era when coffee was a hot commodity for smugglers (hence the name). There’s coffee in almost every cocktail: try the Mojito Raiano (coffee-infused rum, ginger beer, vanilla and passion fruit, €10) or a Padrón pepper margarita (hibiscus, triple sec and tequila, 10€). Remember to thank João Resende, bartender and co-owner, for his creativity.
Musa’s first craft beers were launched in 2016 and have been conquering stores, supermarkets and restaurants since. The brewery has its own tap room at Rua do Açúcar, in the heart of Marvila, and it’s absolutely one of our favourite spots for a drink in this city. It’s been so successful that the neighbourhood has recently been baptized Lisbon’s Beer District.