If you enjoy the abundance of activities that city breaks have to offer, but don’t want to stray into a corporate landscape filled with towers and grey brick, Lisbon is the perfect city. We stumbled into Bairro Alto and the surrounding area during Festas de Lisboa (throughout June). The Festival is a bit mental really, we had no idea it was on and it just slapped us in the face like one of the big fat sardines that were being cooked on every corner.
The festival is a celebration of the city and it feels like a mini Rio De Janerio; a month long street party with brightly coloured banners, wine, beer and sardines and traditional Portuguese music down every narrow cobbled street. It’s worth a visit if you’re into that thing.
Amongst all the fuss of the festival, we did manage to step into the odd bar for a cheeky Supa Boc. See what you think of our favourites below:
MUSEU NACIONAL DO AZULEJO
Bit of a weird one here. Bare with me.
This place literally translates as ‘National Tile Museum’ and unless you’re touching 70 or have a weird connection with tiles, you’d probably avoid this one before even giving it a second look. But the cafe is a little hidden gem.
Situated in an enclosed garden terrace, it’s properly secluded, it even has some terrapins bodding about freely.
It’s pretty far out the city and took us a good 40 mins to walk to, but if you jump in an Uber it won’t take anymore than 10 mins. It’s worth the trip out and a glass of Super Boc is no more than 2 Euros.
As the name suggests, this place is an absolute dive.
But that’s what makes it so good. Any Brit abroad always dives into the first bar that sounds familiar, but this is different. No Brits.
Situated on ‘Pink Street’ (the central drinking area) this place is cheap as chips and open till about 4am. With a proper tacky interior full of mirrors and random old football games being played on the telly. Like most late night bars in Lisbon, you can smoke inside, so be prepared to double wash your garms when you get home.
This place is a bit more of a club, but get there early and you can sneak in a quick drink before it gets busy. It’s just full of Bob Marley tracks and all-night Reggae.
Reggae do as Reggae is though, this club is relaxed and not too intense. Be warned, though, there’s a lot of smoke.
A bunch of buses piled up on top of each other in a skatepark, what’s not to like.
This is a good spot to take some tragic self-timer pics (not that we’d know about that). You can wander in and out of a bunch of double decker buses piled up on each other, there’s all sorts of things here; tattoo shops, offices, little clothes shops and a little bar too. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s definitely somewhere cool to see something different.
The aptly named Park Bar will take some finding, despite being right in the middle of the city. It sits atop a multi-story carpark and doesn’t exactly give itself away.
Surrounded by lush greenery and 360 degree views, this hidden secret is definitely a must see. It’s not the cheapest, but as soon as the first pitcher of Sangria goes down, you don’t really care anyway.
In-house DJ’s will play the day away, and before you know it you’ll be stumbling through a multi story carpark feeling like something out of inception.
MEZ GAIS LX
No that’s not some Trump supporters in a sports bar in Texas, that’s Lisboa.
This odd little bar is part of the LX Factory, but I thought it was worth a mention if you fancy seeing something a little different.
If you’re lucky, you could go eat your dinner inside a boxing ring, if not, you’re just gonna be sat on a standard chair, in a standard bar, drinking standard beer. So unless you jump in the ring, I’d give this one a miss.
The Creme-dela-Creme of rooftop bars.
This is a bit of a stroll out of the city centre, but 100% worth the trip. The factory is comprised of hundreds of independent shops and eateries, all with ample space to lay your hat. This place could take up a whole day, and at the end of the road, you must get yourself to the rooftop to soak in the view and a sip a beer in the warm breeze.