Porto nightlife – our essential guide to a night out in the city

Looking for a place to have some drinks? Or do you want to dance until the sun comes up? Let us present the best tips to make the most of the Porto nightlife
Passos Manuel
© João Saramago Passos Manuel
By Time Out Porto editors |
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Porto’s nightlife has a very particular feature: almost every single bar and club is located downtown, and all are very close to one other. Here’s a roadmap to the finest places to have a drink, socialise and dance, from late afternoon to the break of dawn. 

Porto nightlife – our essential guide to a night out in the city

Bars and pubs, Café bars

Aduela

icon-location-pin Baixa

Porto is a relatively small city but it has a considerable number of bars where you can have a late afternoon post-work drink. The locals love it. Don’t take our word for it, just go to Aduela and see for yourself. This is probably the best known and loved spot for after-work refreshments (you can also check Candelabro, at the Rua da Picaria). It’s a good place to sample Portuguese wines from several regions at affordable prices; you can also try sangria, the popular mix of wine and fruit (great in warm weather), and moscatel, the sweet wine from the southern region of Setúbal (during summertime, ask for a couple of ice cubes in it). There’s also snacks such as sandwiches with traditional Portuguese products, ‘tremoços’ (lupini beans) or grissini. If the terrace is full, follow the locals: ask for a drink and sit on the street.

Capela Incomum
©João Saramago
Bars and pubs

Capela Incomum

icon-location-pin Cedofeita

The name means ‘uncommon chapel’, and the bar is indeed peculiar since it’s located... in a chapel. The altar remains there, but that is the venue’s only link to its religious past. This ancient sixteenth-century chapel was turned into an ideal wine bar for couples or small groups of friends to enjoy a quiet night out. Here you’ll be able to discover and taste a wide range of Portuguese wines, mostly from the Douro and Minho regions, both famous and obscure. And you might learn something about them in the process – the staff makes a point of guiding their customers by telling them the stories behind what they’re drinking.

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Catraio CraftBeerShop
©João Saramago
Bars and pubs, Craft beer pubs

Catraio Craft Beer Shop

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The craft brewery trend has come to Portugal too. And it’s spreading quickly: there are now many quality brands and breweries all over the country, and new ones keep popping up. You can meet them at the Catraio Craft Beer Shop, a venue for craft brewery (mostly but not only from Portugal), where you’ll find Porto beers Sovina and Burguesa, Minho’s Letra, Lisbon’s Passarola and Oitava Colina or Trás-os- Montes’s Gíria, and many others. The staff is always eager to offer advice. If you fall in love with any Portuguese beer, you can and should buy some to take home with you.

Guindalense
©Marco Duarte
Bars and pubs

Guindalense

icon-location-pin Baixa

No cocktails, no wine list, no gourmet snacks, no hipster tunes. Guindalense is a humble drinking hole, no tricks, no frills – but with a breathtaking view, from right on top of the river, next to the Luíz I bridge, which is lit up at night. It’s located in the heart of Porto, in the Sé district, and you couldn’t ask for a better place to take in the city with a drink in your hand, far away from downtown’s bustle. They regularly hold dances that play Portuguese popular music; if you happen to arrive in the middle of one, don’t be shy and join in.

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Bars and pubs, Café bars

Pipa Velha

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Pipa Velha has been around since the 1980s. Its walls, covered with old posters from concerts, art exhibitions and plays, are a testament to it, and they go along nicely with the venue’s rustic look. Here you’ll find several generations mingling over a glass of gin or wine. You can also have the house’s famous chouriço sausage, which is delivered to the table in flames (it’s up to the client to decide how much to cook it). In summertime, you can also enjoy the terrace.

Porto nightlife – our essential guide to a night out in the city

Praça - Bistro & Cocktail Bar
©Marco Duarte
Bars and pubs, Café bars

Praça

icon-location-pin Baixa

Praça is a great bar to have a drink and a chat – it’s the perfect place to start your evening. It’s located in a central area of the city’s ‘movida’, at D. Filipa de Lencastre square. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays they’ll play funk and soul music; Wednesday, though, is always reggae night. Try their mojitos, on which the bar’s reputation was built, and, if you’re hungry, go for the guacamole and black angus hamburger on black bread. During the summer, you can enjoy the terrace. You should also try Praça’s older brother, the Casa do Livro bar in the Galeria de Paris street (it’s a fine shelter for winter nights).

Baixaria
©Marco Duarte
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Baixaria

icon-location-pin Baixa

This bar/disco is located on the second floor of a stunning neo-Moorish building, designated as Municipal Heritage. Inside you’ll find stucco ceilings, a €10,000 Moroccan chandelier and a palatial balcony, which is perfect for chatting on with a drink in your hand. Baixaria has a dancefloor and puts on theme parties, but there’s also quieter areas where you can sit. On weekdays they also have live music, including samba acts and there’s another bar, Route 1999, in the same building.

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Xico Queijo
©João Saramago
Bars and pubs

Xico Queijo

icon-location-pin Galerias

The Rua Galeria de Paris is one of Porto’s most animated streets at night. Every other door leads to a bar, and Xico Queijo is right in the middle of it. Despite all the hubbub around it, it’s the kind of place where you can sit outside and have a gossip enhanced by good food and drink. Our recommendations are the Portuguese cheese and dried fruit board with food from the Azores, Alentejo and Trás-os-Montes regions, the Xico Shaker cocktail (orange and lemon juice, lime, ginger and vodka) and the sangria.

BOP Café
©João Saramago
Restaurants, Cafés

BOP

icon-location-pin Baixa

A place for fine music, great beer and excellent company. BOP has a collection of nearly two thousand vinyl records, from rock to Portuguese music, from soul to African sounds. Staff members are music buffs, and they’re happy to chat with you on the subject. As for beers, they serve Mexico’s Modelo, Jamaica’s Red Stripe, Japan’s Kirin Ichiban and Asahi Super Dry, among others. If you need something to snack on late at night, go for the wasabi green peas, the nachos, the hummus or their selection of homemade desserts.

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Passos Manuel
©João Saramago
Bars and pubs

Passos Manuel

icon-location-pin Santa Catarina

One of Porto’s most iconic bars, it presents both gigs and movies (in its previous incarnation, it was a movie theatre with quite a bit of history). Most of the regulars are connected to the city’s cultural industries, and the bar has an LGBT-friendly environment. Passos Manuel is a place both for quiet evenings chatting with friends on the upper floor or in private rooms (those tiny rooms hidden behind the counter) and for going wild on the downstairs dancefloor.

Porto nightlife – our essential guide to a night out in the city

Rádio Bar
©João Saramago
Bars and pubs

Rádio Bar

icon-location-pin Baixa

This bar’s second floor used to be Porto’s old criminal court, where famous Portuguese writer Camilo Castelo Branco was tried for adultery in 1861. Some inscriptions in Latin can still be read on the main room’s walls. In the early years of the twentieth century, this venue was the Clube Primavera cabaret, evoked by filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira in the movie ‘Porto of my Childhood’. There’s plenty of history but also a lot of fun to be had – mostly on the lower floor, where the disco heaves to the sounds of indie and EDM. If you need to get a bit of fresh air, head to the backyard garden.

Café Au Lait
© João Saramago
Bars and pubs

Café au Lait

icon-location-pin Galerias

The Rua Galeria de Paris has many bars and a lot of people. If you’re bemused by all the possibilities, go to Café au Lait. Their music is selected by good DJs, some of them talented young Portuguese producers. You might get there in the middle of an EDM, hip hop or funk party, and if the dancefloor is swinging, it might end up being your night’s only port of call.

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Plano B
© Plano B
Nightlife, Late-night bars

Plano B

icon-location-pin Galerias

Located in another of Porto’s major nightspots, the Rua Cândido dos Reis, Plano B a city landmark – and the kind of club that makes for great Instagramming. There’s three main rooms and several smaller spaces, each with its own decorations. There’s even a fountain statue on the ground floor. As for music, at Plano B you can experience two types of night in the same place: you can hop from the ‘stage’ room, with its poppier music, to the ‘cube’ room, which plays EDM and hosts international DJs. This venue usually brings locals and tourists together.

Maus Hábitos
©João Saramago
Art, Contemporary art

Maus Hábitos

icon-location-pin Santa Catarina

One of the city’s finest bars. It hosts a monthly program including parties we vividly recommend (Hard Ass Sessions, GrooveBall, Arena, CandyWaves), plus gigs by both Portuguese and foreign bands, film screenings, tango nights and art shows by local independent artists. There’s also a pizzeria named Vícios da Mesa, serving lunch, dinner and brunch (Sundays only, noon to 4pm). And it’s just across from another bar, the Passos Manuel – so try both of them.

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Tendinha dos Clérigos
©DR
Nightlife, Late-night bars

Tendinha dos Clérigos

icon-location-pin Galerias

Tendinha is among Porto’s legendary discos – it’s where a lot of people end up when they’re trying to extend their night all the way till dawn (don’t be surprised if you bump into tipsy folks along the way). It’s powered by danceable rock music. If you get there before the wee hours, you can also try HD Bar To Be Wild, a nearby biker bar at the Rua Galeria de Paris managed by the same owners as the Tendinha.

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