Newcomers to Lisbon often hit the bars around 9 pm and head home at midnight thinking that the bar scene is rather quiet. In fact, Lisbon bars don't get going until after midnight, clubs even later. On weekends, lively groups spill out of bars and stand shoulder to shoulder in the streets, especially in the lively Bairro Alto and the revamped Cais do Sodré. Many places are rather quiet from Sunday through Wednesday although, in the summer high season, bars fill every night of the week with holidaymakers who don't need to rise early the next day.

Some dance clubs charge a cover of €15 (more on weekends), which includes one drink; if you come early you may get in free. Clubs are open from about 10 or 11 pm (but only start filling up well after midnight) until 4 or 5 am; a few stay open until 8 am. Be aware that some unscrupulous door staff will try to overcharge out-of-towners; if the price seems way over the odds, walk away.

For a less boisterous evening out, visit a café-bar or a casa de fado, where professional or amateur performers sing the city’s world-renowned, beautifully mournful style of music.

Lisbon has a well-established gay and lesbian scene, concentrated primarily in and around the Bairro Alto and the neighboring Príncipe Real area, on the way to Rato.

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  • 1. A Baiuca

    Alfama | Live Music

    The quality of both the food and the singing varies at this family-run establishment, but the setting–-which calls to mind the dining room of...Read More

  • 2. Cinco Lounge

    Príncipe Real | Bars/Pubs

    With moody lighting, rococo furnishings, and potent cocktails, this spot is frequently cited as Lisbon’s best cocktail bar. The creativity and...Read More

  • 3. Finalmente

    Príncipe Real | Dance Clubs

    Open for more than 40 years, the city's oldest gay club remains a hugely popular hangout, thanks in no small part to the wonderfully flamboyant...Read More

  • 4. Garrafeira Alfaia

    Bairro Alto | Bars/Pubs

    Barrels are used as tables at this at this tiny wine bar, where the various vintages are accompanied by platters of local cheeses and sausages...Read More

  • 5. Hot Clube de Portugal

    Avenida da Liberdade | Live Music

    Europe’s oldest jazz club started in a tiny basement in 1948, and all these decades later Hot Clube de Portugal remains the place for live jazz...Read More

  • 6. Lounge

    Cais do Sodré | Bars/Pubs

    This hip joint is where twenty- and thirtysomething vinyl lovers chat (or shout) to the pumping sound of dance music. There are regular live...Read More

  • 7. Mesa de Frades

    Alfama | Live Music

    All the rage among local fado lovers, this performance space is housed in a tiny, azulejo-lined former chapel. The quality of the food varies...Read More

  • 8. MusicBox

    Cais do Sodré | Live Music

    Under the arches on the famous Pink Street–-you can find it by the enormous mural overhead–-MusicBox has well-known bands and popular DJs performing...Read More

  • 9. Parreirinha de Alfama

    Alfama | Live Music

    This little club has been owned by fado legend Argentina Santos since the 1960s, and although she no longer sings, she sits by the door most...Read More

  • 10. Pavilhão Chinês

    Príncipe Real | Bars/Pubs

    For a quiet drink in an intriguing setting, you can't beat this speakeasy. It's filled to the brim with fascinating junk collected over the...Read More

  • 11. Pensão Amor

    Cais do Sodré | Bars/Pubs

    Housed in a former brothel, this offbeat hangout recalls its decadent past with velvet armchairs, tassled curtains, and a huge mural across...Read More

  • 12. Rio Maravilha

    Alcântara | Bars/Pubs

    Occupying a former break room for factory workers, Rio Maravilha now offers Lisbon's creative types a chance to eat, drink, and be merry. The...Read More

  • 13. Senhor Vinho

    Lapa | Live Music

    This Lisbon institution attracts some of Portugal's most accomplished fado singers. It also serves better food than many casas de fado and...Read More

  • 14. Trumps

    Príncipe Real | Dance Clubs

    One of Lisbon's most iconic gay clubs, Trumps has attracted the city’s trendiest crowds since it opened in the 1980s. There are two separate...Read More

  • 15. A Travessa do Fado

    Alfama | Live Music

    Prominent fadistas, both traditional singers and next-generation artists who are expanding the boundaries of the form, perform most nights in...Read More

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  • 16. As Primas

    Bairro Alto | Bars/Pubs

    This laid-back bar is a popular lesbian hangout, although everyone drops by for the cheap drinks and to hear the 1980s music on the jukebox. ...Read More

  • 17. Bairru's Bodega

    Bairro Alto | Bars/Pubs

    At this welcoming bar, Portugal's finest wines can be sampled by the glass or bottle. Along with regional cheeses, hams, and sausages, you can...Read More

  • 18. Caxin Bar

    Alfama | Bars/Pubs

    Competition is fierce for a seat at this somewhat hidden lounge, but your patience will be rewarded with one of the friendliest drinking experiences...Read More

  • 19. Clube de Fado

    Alfama | Live Music

    An international crowd flocks to this spot to hear established performers–-such as owner Mário Pacheco–-and rising stars take turns at the microphone...Read More

  • 20. Lux Frágil

    Santa Apolónia | Dance Clubs

    Lisbon's most famous club is dotted with designer furniture and has two dance floors favored by big-name local and foreign DJs—plus a rooftop...Read More

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