Alfama is the perfect setting for a romantic night out, but it’s also an excellent neighborhood for anyone desiring an authentic Portuguese experience, and sampling the national wines is one big piece of that experience. Wine bars and restaurants practically appear around every corner, making it easy to hop from one cozy venue to the next. The next time you’re in Lisbon, fall under Alfama’s spell by visiting the following bars and tascas and sampling the vinho along the way.
Who says you can’t start drinking wine in the afternoon? In Portugal, it’s common to see locals enjoying a glass with lunch or on its own midday, so join in at the Wine Bar Do Castelo, a rustic bar idyllically located by the Castelo de São Jorge (Saint George’s Castle). Choose which Portuguese wine you’ll try first, either by the glass or bottle, from a wide selection stemming from different wine-producing regions. Whether you prefer dry reds, crisp whites, or dessert wines, there is something for everyone. Tantalizing your senses further is an array of Portuguese petiscos, mainly a national selection of cheeses and dry-cured pork.
Bar, Wine Bar, Restaurant, Portuguese, European, $$$
Behind the main road running parallel to the Tagus River, near the Fado Museum, is where you’ll find many bars, restaurants, sitting areas, and A Muralha Tasca Típica, a charming hole-in-the-wall bar-style eatery specializing in wines, cheeses, and charcuterie. The venue is divided into two parts, however, and the main section is a lovely restaurant with a floral-covered terrace patio, serving everything from delicious Frango Assado to grilled fish and seafood. The bar/tavern is off to the side of the restaurant, cozy within stone walls, and the perfect spot to press pause on sightseeing and share a bottle of wine with some appetizers.
The top floor of the stylish and boutique Memmo Alfama Hotel is home to this intimate terrace bar with phenomenal views over Alfama. Stepping away from Lisbon’s usual rustic and traditional décor, the Memmo Alfama Wine Bar & Terrace is a contemporary and sophisticated venue with an almost secretive ambiance. Sit and peruse the long wine list before passing a lovely sunset or afternoon sipping wine and enjoying one of Lisbon’s loveliest cityscapes.
Modern décor and floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with wine only begin to describe The Corkscrew Wine Bar, located in the heart of Alfama. Specializing in national wines and traditional ‘tapa-like’ petiscos, or appetizers, this is an excellent spot to spend an hour or two sipping and snacking with friends, but you can also plan lunch or dinner there, too. A few dishes on the menu include sardines, bacalhau (salt cod, a staple in Portuguese cuisine), and sirloin steak.
Who says you need to go to Porto for a Port wine experience? Located on one of the neighborhood’s narrow cobbled side streets, Port Alfama may remind you of stepping inside a country kitchen that’s part shop. Along one wall, a table covered in colorful tin cans filled with different fish and seafood brighten the room, while all around bottles of wine, many being different brands of Port, remind customers why they’re there.
Two main reasons to visit the Tasca Bela are fado and wine, but the venue serves dinnertime meals, too, in addition to petiscos. Narrow and cozy, this is another hole-in-the-wall venue that you should head to early in the night to ensure getting a table.
There’s nothing quite like being serenaded by the sounds of fado while relaxing with a glass of wine, and Tasca do Chico in Alfama is one of the top spots for just that. Small and cozy, as is the norm in this part of Lisbon, Tasca do Chico is an excellent place to visit with friends, but the chatter stops when the fado begins so you can focus on the hauntingly beautiful singing. Tasca do Chico in Alfama is only open on the weekends, and try not to get it confused with the one in Bairro Alto (another good option with different hours).