What do you get when you introduce an old strip of factory buildings to restaurants, cafés, and creative minds? You get one of the coolest hangout spots in the city. Lisbon has accepted a role as a technological center and startup headquarters, attracting more entrepreneurs in the process, and the LX Factory is one of many fruitful initiatives.
Situated in Alcântara, the buildings where budding creativity now flourishes once belonged to a fabric company called “Companhia de Fiação e Tecidos Lisbonense” (Company of Wiring and Textiles). It opened in 1846 and was considered a significant company in Lisbon’s industrialization. Today, however, you will find various offices along the upper floors – ranging from flexible workspace for freelancers to modeling agencies to photography studios – and eateries every few paces on the ground floor.
Trendy building décor
The first thing you may notice when entering the gates are all the flyers along the walls. As a trendy locale, groups, bands, and anyone wanting to extend their voice pin their flyers within the entrance walls hoping to be heard.
Continue walking around and the outdoor wall art will soon catch your attention. From inspirational quotes to random cartoons, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the artwork, but they’re appreciated anyway.
Trendy restaurants and cafés
There are too many restaurants at the LX Factory to name them all, but a few stand out from the crowd. Visit Cantina and you’ll notice that the décor is a little rough around the edges, but that’s part of what makes it so charming. Red bricks and metal shelving decorate the space inside, which in turn is covered in eclectic wall art. At Cantina, expect meals out of a wood-fired oven, which is one of the restaurant’s main characteristics.
In the mood for pizza and don’t mind sharing a table with strangers? A Mesa is a hip pizzeria with long, wooden tables that seat up to 50 people.
Café na Fábrica is a café across from Cantina that looks like a small white house from the outside. Inside it serves a variety of pastries, breakfast and brunch items, sandwiches, juices, and coffee – of course, it’s Portugal. The terrace along the side of the small building allows patrons to eat outside beneath a few trees and the Ponte 25 de Abril (25th of April Bridge).
If dessert is really all you want, why not try some cheesecake? LXeeseCake is a little further down the street and shares a space with a glasses shop. Why? Both LXeeseCake and the glasses shop needed a new home and this space was too big for one shop alone; voilà, a new hybrid shop was born. The woman who runs LXeeseCake goes by the name Madame Cheeselova, but the nickname is not a combination of “cheese” and “lover”. It’s actually a tribute to Madame Cheeselova’s two specialties: cheesecake and pavlova – the latter can be purchased on Sundays or when ordered in advance.
And if cheesecake isn’t your thing, Landeau and Oh! Brigadeiro may tickle your fancy instead. At Landeau – which also has a shop in Chiado – you can try “the best chocolate cake in the world” which has a variety of textures and must be sampled to understand. At Oh! Brigadeiro, the Brazilian-style bites are small but they pack a flavorful punch.
Trendy things to do
Ler Devagar has received a lot of attention as not only one of the most beautiful and unique bookshops in Portugal but also in the world. When you step inside it’s clear that this space once belonged to a factory as the metal staircase and some of the structures are giveaway features. The bookshop sells books both in Portuguese and English (mostly in Portuguese though) and you can peruse them while sipping coffee or sampling cakes from the café inside.
After reading (or instead of it), go shopping. There are many shops inside the LX Factory, but one that stands out is Bairro Arte. The merchandise is a bit retro, a bit artsy, and very much geared towards amusement. If you’re in need of a novelty gift, this is the place to go, and there are lots of unique pieces that are great for decorating the home as well.
Visit LX Factory on any Sunday and you’ll run into the outdoor flea market.
Trendy hybrid concepts
Usually, venues are geared towards one thing or the other, like restaurants and bookstores, and sometimes they mix two ideas, like café-bookstores. LX’s new addition The Therapist, however, is something entirely different. Are you looking for a cool spot for a healthy lunch? Visit The Therapist! Are you unsure how to navigate life in Lisbon? Visit The Therapist! What if you want to see a nutritionist? Yep, visit The Therapist! In short, The Therapist is a sort of restaurant, clinic and a “Lisbon Survival Guide” school all in one.