Behind closed doors
In your first week here, you’ll have more beers out in the street than you did your whole life back at home. The parties are outdoors, the streets are dancefloors. On any weekend Bairro Alto (with the Erasmus corner!), Bica and Cais do Sodré will see a crowd bigger than fits Benfica’s football stadium.
But the Portuguese enjoy a quiet drink with a small group of close friends as much as anybody. That is why they keep some drinking dens in Lisbon as precious gems they don’t tell anybody about. At these bars, you have to knock at the door to be allowed in. It’s an old tradition and it makes you feel like you’re walking into one of Sherlock’s great adventures. Here they are then: the top 3 bars in Lisbon for the students who want to scratch beneath the surface.
There’s a small buzzard painted black on the black door – on dark nights it can be hard to spot. Ring it and wait. Once inside, you’ll find this is the most casual of these bars: Big screen in the small bar for sports fans and a dartboard if you need some distraction. Expect some tunes, Superbock (the best Portuguese beer) on tap and a large cocktail selection at this temple of classic rock. Perfect if your student accommodation is in Benfica or São Domingos (like so many students’ in Lisbon).
Doesn’t have a facebook page or a website: find it at Rua Cecíla Meireles nº7A, in front of the Mercardo de São Domingos de Benfica.
In Lisbon’s city centre, Chiado is as lively at night as it is by day.
A large, classy bar inspired by the 1900s. We’re not entirely sure if it’s Art Noveau or Art Deco – but whatever it is, it’s really cool. (History of Art students! Help us out here?) A mind-blowing cocktail list, plenty of seats, a great snack/food selection and live Saxo-jazz on Wednesdays. Definitely worth a visit if your student accommodation is in the Noble quarters of Lisbon, such as São Bento or Principe Real. Might be hard to find, but it’s very much worth it. This is very easily the 2nd best cocktail bar in Lisbon. Open every day from 18h00 to 03h00.
Café de São Bento
Open until 2, you can get a coffee, a beer or some wine here like anywhere else but this is the place we recommend for late dinners. Ask for the house Bife – it is the best steak in Lisbon. The environment is very, very classy. This is a place that only has 20 years – but looks like it could have 200. Whether your living in a university residence near Técnico, you live in a studio in Alfama, or are sharing an Erasmus apartment in Baixa, this place – and the steak! – is definitely worth coming to at least once. It’s pricy, though: dinner and drinks here will come to about a night out at Lux or something. Perfect place to bring the man or woman of your life out on a date, if you meet them here in Lisbon – as long as they’re not vegetarian!
So this was it. I hope you enjoyed reading and make sure you visit these bars while you’re in Lisbon.
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