Edited by Holly Jenson
Lisbon is famous for its history, its miradouro viewpoints and its rich culture, but you might not know as much about our exciting nightlife! I came here as a student four years ago and the way the city comes alive at night is one of the things that made me stay. Lisbon is a young at heart city and we have so much choice when it comes to music genres and places to go. One of the best things about Lisbon nightlife is that it’s really cheap! There are so many places to go here that won’t break the bank, and I’ve narrowed down my favourite spots into the best things to do in Lisbon at night, so you can be in the middle of the action!
Whenever I go out with my friends, we always start our night here. Bairro Alto nightlife is very relaxed and all about partying. The area is famous for its yellow funicular which takes you to the top of one of Lisbon’s famously steep hills, but the evening is when it comes alive. Locals tumble out of the funky wine bars which line the streets and sit relax on the tram tracks with their friends (don’t worry, the trams don’t run at night!). Street drinking is legal here so people like to bring their cocktails outside and play music - a Lisbon Saturday night always turns into one giant party! Have a few drinks with the locals before heading to one of our alternative clubs to dance to your heart’s content.
One of the best things to do in Lisbon at night is visit Pink Street. This is one of the liveliest parts of the city and is a must-see on your Lisbon night tour. Its name commemorates the street’s history as the city’s red light district, but this area is now the heart of Lisbon nightlife. My favourite place here is Pensão Amor; a former brothel, the Love Hotel has some quirky décor including bright red walls, fine art and velvet seats. There is even an erotic library you can explore, which pays homage to the bar’s history. Every room is bright and inviting and they serve some really cool cocktails, the atmosphere is always electric in here. On a typical Lisbon Saturday night, they have well-known DJs in here playing a mix of genres that get everyone on their feet. This is a great place to come and let your hair down with your friends and is definitely one of the best bars in Lisbon.
If you’re looking for where to go in Lisbon at night, head to Lux Fragil, by far my favourite place in the city. Internationally renowned, this club plays really good electronic music and hosts the best DJs from all over the world, so you’re guaranteed an amazing night here. Every room is decorated with bright neon lights in cool shapes and there are always great laser shows while you’re dancing - it’s an unbeatable party atmosphere. Don’t worry that this place is in the south of the city, there are buses to the centre running between 1am to 4am to get people home so you can dance the night away! Lux Fragil is an essential part of your Lisbon nightlife guide and something every visitor needs to experience.
If rock and roll is your thing then Sabotage is the best bar in Lisbon for you! Sitting in the south of the city, this club specialises in rock DJs and concerts and is the best place for Lisbon Sunday nightlife. Well-known European rock bands regularly take to the stage and create electric evenings, and the acoustics in this underground club are out of this world! The disco ball always creates a groovy mood and it’s an amazing feeling to be surrounded by people with the same music taste as you! If you want to rock all night long, Sabotage needs to be as stop on your Lisbon night tour.
Santo Antonio Festival
If you’re lucky enough to be in Lisbon in June, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in the Santo Antonio Festival. St Anthony’s Day is the biggest celebration in Lisbon and is held annually on the 12th and 13th of June. The streets are filled with balloons, arches and bursts of colour wherever you turn, being here for this event is the best experience of local culture you can get. Locals flood the squares eating the city’s local delicacies, drinking and dancing together, there is a pure feeling of celebration that is hard to find anywhere else. At night the fairy lights are switched on and the Lisbon fado shows which the city is famous for begin, the traditional folk dancing is contagious and the crowds always join in! The Santo Antonio Festival is one of the best things to do in Lisbon at night and I would encourage everyone to experience it at least once.
Right near Pink Street, Jamaica is a well-loved reggae club at the heart of Lisbon nightlife. Playing a mixture of reggae and ’80s and '90s hits, Jamaica always has a varied crowd of people relaxing and enjoying themselves. This is a great place to come if you fancy a dance but aren’t in the mood for one of Lisbon’s fast-paced electro nights. One thing you may need to be mindful of is that this is a small club who may not be able to accept large groups, you may need to split into pairs at the door. Another tip to bear in mind; Lisbon nightlife is cheap, so never go anywhere where they try to charge you high entry fees. The most I’ve ever paid to get into a club is 9 euros and you shouldn’t settle for anything more than that!
Bica is the ideal place when you want to experience Bairro Alto nightlife without the huge crowds. Just south of Bairro Alto, Bica is the perfect location for wine tasting in Lisbon, as many chic wine bars can be found along the cobbled streets. Locals also love to relax with their drinks in Bica, but the atmosphere is a lot more like a casual gathering than the street parties you’ll find in Bairro Alto nightlife, it’s a great alternative if you just want to chill out and gaze at the city lights. When travelling to these city suburbs, you might ask yourself, ‘is Lisbon at night safe?’ and I can tell you yes, but when you’re out late at night, make sure you travel in a group and keep your valuables safe. Major crime in Lisbon is rare but pickpockets will strike at easy targets. Keep a watchful eye so you can make the most of our wonderful Lisbon nightlife.
No matter what you’re looking for on your Lisbon night tour, Casa Independente will have something for you. This converted mansion is home to lots of individual rooms where you can find the one that suits your mood perfectly. The biggest area is the 'Tiger Room' where you can watch gigs and DJ sets from local artists, there is always a great variety of music in here. If you fancy a quiet evening, there are lots of cosy smaller rooms where you can have a coffee and relax. For a relaxed evening of cocktails with friends, the patio at the back with its al fresco feel is ideal! There is a huge variety of teas, fresh juices and cocktails available all night long and you can get stuck into the tasty tapas until midnight! In the district of Intendente, this place is a perfect way to end your day after exploring the traditional neighbourhood of Mouraria.
I always recommend Damas to friends for its alternative night scene. Originally opened as a bakery, there are quirky steel-topped counters where the bakers kneaded the dough, and a giant front window where pastries were displayed. These features give Damas a unique feel that you won’t find in other clubs in Lisbon. In the day time you can come here for a casual lunch, but the evening is when it really takes off. The place is filled with locals having drinks and Portuguese delights for dinner until 11pm when the live acts start. Damas hosts a variety of local and international bands to suit every genre, and the dancefloor in the centre of the room means that no one is ever stood still for too long! For a taste of Lisbon’s music culture, come here for a night to remember.
Another paradise for you rockers out there, Tokyo is the place to be for a night 70’s and 80’s Rock and Roll. Founded in 1968, this place has always been popular with locals and is one of the most famous clubs in Lisbon. Located in bustling Pink Street, Tokyo has regular live performances which delight crowds; you can hear the cheers from the street! Due to its location, I would make a stop here on your Lisbon night tour, as even If this isn’t your genre, it’s good to experience the upbeat atmosphere this place oozes and connect with the Rock ‘n’ Roll community. Tokyo is one of the best bars in Lisbon for a feeling of friendship among the crowds.
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