The eight best Lisbon clubs
Rock, rock and more rock. That’s all you hear at Sabotage, ever since it opened in April 2013. A by-product of the magazine of the same name, which closed since then, Sabotage is close, but not too close, to Cais do Sodré’s crazy night bustle. There are concerts on Thursdays and Saturdays, almost always by national rock bands with an original repertoire, but occasionally it opens on other days. The music ranges from indie-pop to stoner, garage and psych-rock. In the end, it’s a club for those who kneel at the six-string altar of the electric guitar.
These days, Musicbox has a more eclectic agenda than ever: Baile Tropicante makes you dance to the sounds of cumbia, Noite Príncipe is all about afro-electronica heard in Lisbon’s suburbs and alternative showcases like the Musicbox Heineken Series brings international emerging and established clubbing artists to the city. It’s also known for being one of the clubs that stays open the latest, even when the rest of the bars in Cais do Sodré are already kicking out their last customers.
It’s the most famous club in the city – and in the country, actually. It opened its doors on September 29, 1998, on the second-to-last day of Expo 98. The owner Manuel Reis, who recently passed away, was already responsible for Frágil in Bairro Alto. Expect electronic music, two dancefloors and a rooftop terrace that’s perfect to watch the sunrise. The line can be a deterrent from 2.30am, when things start be really be interesting. Even so, this isn’t Berghain, and unless the bouncer tries to charge you €240 (there have been stories, even though cover is normally €12), it’s always worth the wait. Be presentable, don’t go in flip flops.
In this historic space, which includes a ground floor and a basement, where the dancefloor is, the music is generally indie. Win Butler himself (Arcade Fire’s lead singer), played a DJ set there – to the hysterical delight of anyone who recognised him. It was the city’s first alternative venue. It is usually open until 4am, and on weekends - if you manage to get in – it can be so busy it’s hard to breathe.
Set in the former Ministry of Finance building, this club was inaugurated on December 1, 2012, and usually opens on Saturdays only. It has gradually become a reference in the city’s electronic scene, with national and international techno and house music names playing every weekend. There’s also a monthly LGBT night, Spit & Polish.
Metropolis is practically the only thing left at the abandoned Centro Comercial Imaviz, one of the city’s historical commercial centres, founded at the start of the 70s. To get to this club – or more accurately, to this rock crypt – you need to go down to the basement and walk through several vacated shops, in itself an interesting experience. Then, let yourself be carried away by the only important thing here, rock, with tribute nights to bands like Nirvana, Rammstein or Depeche Mode.
It’s Lux’s little brother, something no other club in the city can brag about. It was one the great nightlife novelties of 2016, with a concept different from its sister venue (and from every other bar in Cais do Sodré). Open from 10pm to 4am on the first floor of Time Out Market, it’s great for some post-dinner activity– whether it be drinking or dancing. On Sundays – and this is where it stands out – it has matinée sessions from 5pm to 1am, for those of us who want to go to bed early.
Lounge is one of Lisbon’s best nightlife venues and its not overrated. The agenda is one of its greatest assets, as it manages to please just about everyone. On a normal night – even on a Sunday – you could start by listening to a raw and sweaty rock concert and end dancing to obscure disco tracks at 4am. And best of all, it’s free entry. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the bar is so busy it’s hard to find the space to dance and let’s not even talk about the line to the bathroom.