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The Lisbon nightlife guide

Where to head for dancing and music till dawn

You may not know it, but Lisbon really is the city that never sleeps. The infamous Lisbon nightlife begins at casual eateries and bars, snacking on seafood and tapas over beers, wine and great conversations with friends. These seemingly laid-back venues often remain open until gone midnight or even 2am.

  1. Bairro Alto
  2. Docas
  3. Pink Street
  4. Jardim de Lisboa Antiga, São Bento
  5. Principe Real
  6. Festa de Santo António

But it doesn’t stop there. The Lisbon nightlife rolls on until past sunrise as revellers flock to the city’s legendary clubs. At least once in your trip, dare yourself to stay up and watch a glorious city sunrise before catching up on some hard-earned sleep.

1. Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is the traditional heart and soul of Lisbon’s nightlife. The narrow streets with their small and friendly bars come alive at night with a festival atmosphere. Patrons spill onto the cobbles to drink and socialise, and music follows in the night air – and there are also Portugal’s famous Fado bars and clubs. Tasca Do Chico is an oft-mentioned favourite that’s a stalwart of the Fado scene, jam-packed on weekends and pretty bustling on weeknights too. Charming Adega Machado has been welcoming guests since 1937, and similarly storied Café Luso also runs sessions until 2am. For something a little different – namely DJs mixing jazz, soul and funk into a highly danceable infusion – head to Park, a trendy bar and dance venue on the roof of a multi-storey carpark.

Visit for: Fado and fabulous parties

Tram stop: Several – Elevador Da Glória, Praça Luís De Camões, Calhariz (Bica)

2. Docas

Close to the 25 de Abril Bridge you’ll find Santo Amaro Docks, a rejuvenated former docklands now packed with on-trend bars, restaurants and clubs. Overlooking the chic marina, the waterside tables are a delight during the afternoon, rolling into the warm evenings with atmospheric lighting. At night, the scene comes alive, with music drifting across the harbour. Here, you’re conveniently close to Lisbon staples like LX Factory – a daytime and evening hipster hangout and arts venue where cool shops and galleries are interspersed with funky craft beer joints and cafés. Heading in the other direction you’ll soon run into K Urban Beach Club, an upscale beach bar with a pool, loungers and late-night DJs, not to mention a handy sushi bar if dancing makes you peckish.

Visit for: Trendy daytime hangouts, late-night DJ sets

Tram stop: Rua Da Junqueira, or train via Alcantara-Mar

3. Pink Street

Another of Lisbon’s super-successful transformation and rejuvenation projects is the former red light district Rua Nova do Carvalho – now affectionately known as Pink Street. Steps from the Cais do Sodré and the Time Out Market, this colourful street (which is actually painted pink) is busy day and night. During the day people vie for the best outdoor tables at the restaurants, while through the evening it effortlessly transforms into party central. The venues include infamous Pensão Amor, a former brothel turned decadent tearoom-meets-bar open till late. Wander between the higgledy-piggledy, opulently decorated rooms listening to eclectic music, the occasional live concert, and perhaps even the deliberately old-school disco. Start with drinks at Espumantaria do Cais, right in the heart of the street, then enter the cavernous neon-lit venue of Musicbox or head to small but highly rated Pink Wine Point for live music and – you guessed it – wine.

Visit for: A wild bar crawl

Tram stop: Cais do Sodré

4. Jardim de Lisboa Antiga, São Bento

The Jardim de Lisboa Antiga in São Bento – also known as Jardim das Francesinhas – may not seem like the obvious spot to start your night out, but it’s a quirky and unique place to experience Lisbon’s nightlife. On Friday nights this park transforms into an open-air club of sorts, where the sounds of Brazilian forró and Angolan kizomba ring out in the sultry air and locals take to the improvised dancefloor to get the party started. It might be a bit intimidating at first, but non-locals will soon find themselves swept up in learning these Latin-inspired dances. It starts around 8pm and usually winds up by midnight, when you can either head home or follow the crowds to a club – the choice is yours.

Visit for: An open-air dance extravaganza

Tram stop: Cç. Estrela, or Assembleia Da República (bus)

5. Principe Real

If you like to dress up and enjoy a classy cocktail or three, Principe Real is the place to head for an elegant evening out. Upscale bars and restaurants nestle in these smart streets, interspersed with antique stores and elegant live music spots. Top wine bars here include chic The Old Pharmacy and the Art Nouveau Foxtrot Bar, plus The Decadente, where an elegant dinner easily becomes a few more glasses. Cinco Lounge provides an atmospherically low-lit setting for a cocktail date, or you could spend some time in established favourite Pavilhão Chinês. This decadently decorated warren of rooms, whose walls are lined with glass cases filled with vintage playthings, is a bar meets toy museum that enchants locals and tourists alike – the venue’s quirky exterior is enough to lure anyone in.

Visit for: A chic evening of cocktails

Tram stop: Principe Real

6. Festa de Santo António

Not so much a district as a particular time to head to a district… on the 12–13 June, Festa de Santo António transforms the historical neighbourhood of Alfama into the biggest party in town. Alfama is best known for its winding cobbled streets, beautifully coloured architecture and cultural sights, including the castle. But on these two nights of the year, the locals celebrate Lisbon’s patron saint in style. Streamers and pastel-coloured decorations are hung across the usually tranquil streets, squares are packed out festival-style with as many tables as they can fit, and there’s food (particularly sardines), wine, beer and music in abundance. During the day you might catch the parade of floats on Avenida di Liberdade. By the time you reach Alfama in the evening, the atmosphere is electric and the crowds are thronging – it’s the perfect night to go with the flow and see where it takes you. It’s also known as the longest night in Lisbon, so pack your comfy shoes, as you won’t be home before dawn.

Visit for: An unforgettable festival-like experience

Tram stop: Several – Lg. Portas Sol, Miradouro Sta. Luzia, Limoeiro

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