Where to drink, dine and dance in Lisbon, Portugal


Portugal’s capital is one of those rare and wonderful cities that makes you fall completely in love at first sight. Lisbon oozes charm and flirts with all types of visitor – young, old, romantic, adventure-seeking, foodies, transport buffs and those just seeking a fun-filled weekend away. It’s easy to get lost in the cobbled, winding streets (and we recommend you do!) but if you’re going to Lisbon for a weekend getaway, this list is all you need to drink, eat and not get much sleep in the pretty city…

Mercado da Ribeira Food Market

Mercado da Ribeira

Lisbon’s finest restaurants all packed into one indoor emporium is an absolute must. Peak time is around 9-10pm for the ultimate foodie hangout (it can be tricky to find a table at this time) and we can guarantee you will be tempted into sampling more than one dish. But don’t worry – despite the Michelin star quality, it’s an affordable night out.
TRY: Bràs de Pato (duck and potato gratin with courgette and mushrooms) from Miguel Castro Silva, followed by his gluten free chocolate cake.

Casa Independente

Casa Independente. Photo: Elizabeth Sharma

Intendente was once a dicey neighbourhood, but a recent influx of artists has transformed it into a burgeoning bohemian oasis. Casa Independente is quite literally a house – you won’t even see a sign on the door that signals the bar, café, courtyard and dance floor hidden on the first floor. Whether you are stopping by for afternoon tea and cake or a wild night out, the beautifully mismatched décor and ever-changing menu are treats to explore.
TRY: Lime and lemon cake – it’s to die for.

Decadente Restaurant & Bar

Photo: Decadente

This stylishly converted hotel encapsulates all that is great about Lisbon’s renaissance: the experience is proudly Portuguese (historical memorabilia lines the walls) and the quality of the locally sourced food is impeccable. On Saturdays you can catch live music in the lounge and a quiet courtyard at the back allows you to enjoy an extra cocktail when your meal is over. Booking is essential, as there are only two sittings at 8pm and 10pm.
TRY: Petit Decadente e Vinho Porto Tinto (Melt in the middle chocolate fondant served with a glass of Ruby Port). Heaven!

Pensão Amor

Pensao Amor. Photo: Mainside

Once a brothel filled with Bairro Alto’s plentiful prostitutes, now a packed out bar open til 3 am. Provided you are not put off by the erotic murals, dance pole and all the trimmings of a tatty boudoir you’ll have a riot here dancing until the early hours. Located on Rua da Rosa (or “pink street”), which was recently paved pink to reference its former life as the red light district.
TRY: Amêndoa amarga (almond liquor served with ice and a squeeze of lemon juice)

Nanarella’s Gelateria

Elizabeth samples the delights at Nanarella

Locals line up around the block to get a taste of this unbelievably fresh, creamy and delicious homemade Italian ice cream for as little as 2 EUR per scoop. The usual favourite flavours are all covered, as well as more adventurous options… like basil. Toppings of fresh strawberries and cream are optional.
TRY: Chocolate and hazelnut/Oreo combo topped with cream. No-one calorie counts on holiday…


The view from Park. Photo: Sara Gelfgren

Lisbon boasts a range of rooftop bars that have spectacular views of the city at night. The most recent addition is atop a multi-story car park, and one of the most surprising places you are likely to find a luscious garden with panoramic views. The resident RnB DJ had us dancing for a solid 2 hours. Park is open until 2am Tuesday to Saturday. Popular with a younger crowd.
TRY: Moscatel (traditional Portuguese fortified wine made from the muscat grape)

(It was so hard to choose just six…)

So, if you are still standing after a night in Bairro Alto and you want to go big – LUX is the club of choice among locals. A short taxi from Cais do Sodre takes you to the riverside complex, that boasts three floors of bars including a rooftop lounge. Expect house music, outlandish furniture and expensive cocktails. The 12 EUR entry fee is redeemable on drinks. Warning! The entrance policy is random at best – dress well, take ID and have a plan B if you have any hassle at the door.
TRY: Lux Cocktail (Ruby Port, orange, raspberry)

Photo: Lux Fragil (Facebook)

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