How to Plan a Pub Crawl in Lisbon’s Bustling Bairro Alto

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1. Park
There’s no better place to watch the sun go down over the Tagus River and the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge than this trendy rooftop bar. Park is located above an unassuming multi-story parking lot – to find the unmarked staircase leading to its entrance, simply follow the trail of people disappearing into the parking lot. Sip a cocktail or sangria on the foliage-draped terrace as the city lights come on to a soundtrack of jazz, hip-hop, and Afro beats.

2. On the edge of wine
A short walk up the hill, this wine bar is a corker, with a vaulted ceiling lined with backlit bottles and a long wooden bar adding a touch of sophistication to the night. Here you will find the full range of Sogrape wines, from the great reds of Douro and Dão to the sparkling whites of Alentejo and Vinho Verde. Vinhos, from around €3 (£1.6) a glass, come with tapas-style dishes such as salmon ceviche and spicy pica-pau steak bites.

3. Pensão Amor
A short walk downhill is this former brothel, now a trendy bar. Decor here is exuberant, with velvet trimmings, gilt-framed mirrors, beaded chandeliers, and paintings of nudes reminiscent of her past life. Located around the corner from Lisbon’s ‘Pink Street’, once the haunt of sex workers, sailors and drunken thugs, it now attracts punters with DJs, burlesque shows and hard-hitting cocktails.

4. O Bom O Mau and O Vilao
Next door, located in a renovated Pombaline townhouse, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is always bustling, but go after midnight and you’ll find it packed. Its rooms playfully juggle period features and backlights, contemporary art and tables for conversation – a rare find in Bairro Alto bars. Here, DJs spin up a mix of jazz, funk, soul and electro, while fresh fruit cocktails are accompanied by Mexican appetizers.

5. A Capela
Delve into the labyrinthine alleyways of Bairro Alto, a short walk north, and pray you can sneak into A Capela. This former Gothic chapel might just be party heaven, especially after 2am: cheap beers and mojitos flow freely, while flamboyant murals allow you to rub shoulders with a Renaissance nude. The DJ usually plays funky house and electronica, but occasionally strays into more traditional disco as well.

6. O Purista Barbiere
A short walk east of A Capela, this bar housed in a former grand barbershop combines razor-sharp decor with smooth DJ tunes. Visit in the early evening for a quick drink with your beer, but O Purista is also a great place to end a late night. Bartenders with impressive facial hair serve Belgian and Portuguese craft beers and make excellent gin cocktails.

Posted in the November 2022 problem of National Geographic Traveler (UK)

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