Lisbon is emerging as one of Europe’s top destinations for LGBTQ travellers, with a variety of new ventures, including bars and clubs, expanding the scene beyond the realm of bubblegum pop and RuPaul’s Drag Race.
For Miguel Rita, co-creator of Miss Drag Lisboa, Lisbon’s LGBTQ bars and clubs are some of the finest in the world. He sits down with Culture Trip to discuss the best the city has to offer.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
What used to be an old print shop is now a cosy bar where you can “meet your friends for drinks and make new ones”, or so the owners say – one of whom, Max Trovarelli, is still running the old business and selling prints online in between mixing cocktails. Located in the heart of gay-friendly Príncipe Real, Shelter is a fun, relaxed spot where you can sip a special cocktail or craft beer after work. Italian bar snacks and wine are on offer on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Corvo stands out for its glass facade and black tiling, with a colourfully decorated countertop inviting patrons to savour its delicious cocktails, oysters and cheese plates. The narrow stairs leading down to the basement reveal a hidden dance floor, open until 3am.
The longest-standing (and by far the largest) gay club in Lisbon has been around since 1981, carrying with it many legendary nights and stories to tell. Situated in Príncipe Real, the club has two dance floors and a resident DJ. It also hosts some of the best drag queens in Portugal, including Rebecca Bunny, Sylvia Koonz, Lexa Black and Marge Mellow. Trumps is simply a must-visit!
Finalmente’s modest entryway will lead you to a world of excited people gathered to see just one thing, and one thing only: drag shows. Since 1976, Finalmente has been charming the LGBTQ scene with lip-sync performances, with special nights dedicated to showcasing Lisbon’s up-and-coming drag talents. “You never know what to expect and anything can happen,” Miguel Rita tells Culture Trip. The shows happen at around 3am, so grab a few drinks beforehand.
Posh Lisbon has recently taken Lisbon’s LGBTQ scene by storm with its luxurious, extravagant parties. According to Rita, you’ll find “the greatest drag talents in the city” here, lots of special effects and over-the-top lighting. Dance the night away to electronic music, world-class DJ sets and more – all for an incredibly inexpensive entry fee.
Who’s up for hitting the steam rooms and then enjoying a cool drink? If so, head to Trombeta Bath. With its private saunas and Turkish bath, this venue is unlike any other. Fear not, though – there’s also a top-notch bar serving quality drinks and playing a range of tunes.
Nestled in the maze-like streets of Bairro Alto, 49 da ZD is the place to go for raucous parties featuring DJ sets and live bands. Aside from being very LGBTQ-friendly, one of the best things about this bar is that it has its own intimate rooftop – setting the stage for those long, hazy summer nights.