Walking through Bairro Alto can be overwhelming at night when bars come alive. As one of Lisbon’s most energetic neighborhoods after sundown, finding the right live-music bar can be difficult; some venues simply don’t seem large enough to accommodate a band or singer. Culture Trip is here to help. Here is a list of bars with live music in one of Lisbon’s most dynamic nighttime hotspots.
Tasca do Chico
For fado in Bairro Alto, few places receive as many raving reviews as Tasca do Chico. Just make sure you actually head to Bairro Alto and not in the opposite direction to Alfama, where a second Tasca do Chico is located. Covered in framed photographs of guests and professional fado singers, Tasca do Chico in Bairro Alto is a cozy bar where melodic (often melancholic) voices and savory aromas fill the air. This is a great place to visit if traditional Portuguese culture is on the itinerary, and you can pair your fado music with a glass of red wine or sangria (which are preferred, but not the only drinks on the menu) and a side of Portuguese petiscos (Portuguese-style tapas). A local’s recommendation is to try the chouriço assado – pork sausage that has been flame-cooked over alcohol in a special clay dish called an Assador de Barro. To get a seat, try calling ahead of time as this popular spot fills up fast. Or, take your chances and show up at 7PM when it opens (closing is at 3AM).
Tasca do Chico, Rua do Diário de Notícias, 39, Lisbon, Portugal, +351 961 339 696
Does Bairro Alto’s soulful spirit inspire you to listen to jazz music? If so, visit Alface Hall, which is a bar, café, and jazz/blues club with live music daily beginning at 9PM. Associated with a hostel bearing the same name – which means “lettuce hall” – Alface Hall reflects a hodgepodge of styles and décor, making it unique, creative, and shining in personality. Get there early to find seating at a table, on a sofa, or on a couch. The musicians who play here are usually locals, and the clientele is a mix of tourists – usually, guests of the hostel – and Lisbon locals.
Alface Hall, R. do Norte 96, 1200-096 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 213 433 293
Sentido Proibido 1 & 2
Two local favorites are Sentido Proibido and Sentido Proibido 2, dive bars in the lower half of Bairro Alto that are within a one-minute walking distance from each other. A diverse array of music can be heard at these locations, from Brazilian tunes to classic rock, and there are occasionally crooning guitar players on stage. In addition to the music, a reason to check out both Sentido Proibido bars are the drinks, in particular the mojitos, and the patrons boast about the cocktails being reasonably large and inexpensive. Sentido Proibido is usually the place to go to begin a night out and build momentum since it closes at midnight, which is earlier than most other bars in the area.
Sentido Proibido 2, Rua da Atalaia, 34, Bairro Alto, Lisbon, Portugal, +351 916 030 256
Portas Largas translates into “Large Doors,” and these doors do welcome many patrons – both locals and tourists. Whether you stand inside or outside in the street – which is common in Bairro Alto – the Africana and Brazilian music from within will reach your ears and get you moving. Arrive early enough, between 10.30PM-11.00PM and you may be able to secure a table and chairs within the rustic surroundings before the bar gets too busy to stand inside.
Portas Largas, R. da Atalaia 105, 1200-038 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 213 466 379
The other jazz bar, in addition to Alface Hall, is Páginas Tantas, with live music from Tuesday through Saturday. Unlike Alface Hall, Páginas Tantas offers a more contemporary environment through their minimalistic décor and dim lighting. It’s also known as a mellow location, which begins offering music earlier than many of the other bars in the neighborhood and can be a nice place to visit for post-dinner cocktails. Glance around and take in the cool wall art that includes photographs of jazz musicians.
Páginas Tantas, R. do Diário de Notícias 85, 1200 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 966 249 005
Are you a surfer heading to Lisbon for a vacation filled with fun, sun, and waves? Then this is the bar for you. Even if you’re not a surfer but love beach-themed venues, check out the Bali Bar. This spot is a surf shop by day and a bar by night and decorated in surfboards, nets, and infused with a bit of island spirit. Every day, the Bali Bar offers live music that includes the sounds of bongo drums, light vocals, and guitar. It is also a place that serves snacks in addition to their drinks menu.
Bali Bar, R. do Norte 117, 1200-073 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 918 576 490
Spot Bairro Alto
Spot is another, uh, spot that is known for being very tourist-and-local-friendly, and also for having some of the best live music in Bairro Alto. It’s located in the middle of Bairro Alto, only a few blocks away from Praça Luís de Camões. Their cocktail menu is worth checking out too, with drinks ranging from €5-8 for medium to extra large respectively.
Spot Bairro Alto, R. da Atalaia 25, Lisbon, Portugal, +351 962 904 862
Known for being one of the most scenic venues in Bairro Alto, Park is a terrace bar in an old parking lot and offers one of the best views across Lisbon. Listen to either live music or tunes from a DJ, depending on the day or night, and cover a range of tastes from soothing instrumentals to Brazilian music and even jazz. Park opens in the early afternoon (at 1PM) and closes in the early morning (3.30AM). Low wooden tables, tea light lanterns, and plants complete the package, making Park a chill, relaxing environment to hang out in, whether during the day or at night. And enjoy their menu, which includes meat-based and vegetarian options.
Park, Calçada do Combro, 58, Lisbon, Portugal, +351 215 914 011
Grapes & Bites
Bairro Alto is commonly visited by college students and bargain-hunters, but venues aren’t usually geared towards families. Grapes & Bites is different from the norm. This family-friendly wine and tapas bar offers live guitar music to set the mood in a venue that’s open to everyone from noon to midnight. The wine and food – primarily ham, sausages and cheese – are the real reasons why patrons visit Grapes & Bites, and it’s also associated to a hostel.
Grapes & Bites, R. do Norte 83, 1200-284 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 213 460 912