Now, here’s a city that appreciates a good drink. From rooftop clubs turning out easy-drinking cocktails as the sun sets, to sophisticated wine bars and beer-soaked sporty drinking holes, it’s all here in Lisbon – and everything is done to an impressive standard. So, order a glass of punchy Douro red wine, grab that seat at the bar, and let the good vibes of the cheery Portuguese capital wash over you. Cheers to Lisbon – and these, our pick of the best bars in town.
Bahr at Bairro Alto Hotel
Bar, Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails
Perched on the fifth floor of the slick Bairro Alto Hotel, with a terrace overlooking the River Tagus, this is a drinking hole that appeals at all times of day, whether you’re after a mid-afternoon glass of local wine or a crafted gourmet cocktail ahead of a night on the town. Whenever you come, you should plan to eat as well as drink – the menu is designed by celebrity chef Nuno Mendes, and features elegant Portuguese nibbles such as smoked goose barnacles (percebes) on toast, as well as quaffable drinks.
There’s a lot of stairs involved in a trip to Chapitô à Mesa – but you’ll be richly rewarded for your efforts, with prime sundowner views to the water and landmark 25 de Abril bridge, as well as warm service and simple but tasty drinks. Sip a frosty beer while picking at treats from the menu; the euros you spend go towards a good cause, as Chapitô is also a non-profit organisation which promotes and trains young people through the performing arts.
The historic Chiado neighbourhood is a must-see when in Lisbon, and this grand old hotel – all cream-fronted façade, polished wood floors and juliet balconies – encapsulates its elegance. Stop for an evening nightcap at the tranquil bar space, which has art-splashed walls, dapper service and top-notch cocktails. Ask for a table near the windows, where you can take in the sprawling Largo de Camões monument and square, and all the people-watching that naturally comes with it.
With an unbuttoned, bohemian vibe – inspired by India – Lost in Esplanada brings a dose of fun to the cool Príncipe Real district, with pink-pop umbrellas and rainbow furniture. A panoramic terrace reveals a sweeping view of the city as you sip that melon margarita or passionfruit daiquiri, while the Shanti Room provides shelter in the unlikely event of a wet Lisbon summer day. There’s a solid vegetarian menu on offer if tummies rumble, including veggie burgers in beetroot bread with curry mayo.
With a moody, minimalist atmosphere and first-class cocktails, this teeny bar in central Lisbon is a perfect pick for date night. The drinks change with the seasons, but owner Constança Cordeiro’s pours all use foraged and unusual ingredients. Order from the handwritten menu – our choice is a Tágide, with gin, olive oil, elderberry and Mateus rosé wine – then kick back and enjoy the amazing playlist. Do book in advance; there are only seats for around a dozen people at the bar.
This drinking hole has been a staple of the Lisbon bar scene for a few years now – and no wonder. As soon as you enter you’ll fall for its art deco flourishes, polished wood bar and cosy nooks and crannies, reminiscent of a typical English pub (gone Portuguese, obviously). In winter, curl up by the fire with a smoked negroni; in the summer, drink watermelon mojitos until late in the garden. Need one more reason to visit? There’s a snooker table for late-night games, too.
With a speakeasy vibe, Red Frog feels like a real Lisbon secret – that is, it would feel like one, if it wasn’t listed as one of the World’s 50 Best Bars. Ring the bell (underneath the red frog) to be allowed entry, then take a chair at one of the candlelit tables and prepare to drink some of the best cocktails in Lisbon. The innovative bartenders stay just the right side of quirky, with banana in a negroni, say, or sea fennel in a gimlet.
The clue’s in the name: you’ve come here to drink wine. But just in case you were in any doubt about the theme of this Chiado neighbourhood wine bar, simply look up – the arched ceiling is lined in endless rows of empty green-glass bottles, in a jaw-drop installation. You’ll find no shortage of things you want to drink here, especially if you’re in the mood to drink Portuguese – all the wines by the glass are sourced locally, from the Douro to the Alentejo.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Pedro Garcia.