The “long side” of the river Tagus, covering the city's historic Alfama area, is the place to be for a Saturday night out in Lisbon.
The Docas under the Ponte 25 de Abril is certainly a place to spend your dough, but the Avenida Infante Dom Henrique in Alfama, opposite Santa Apolónia station, is the ultimate in hip. At the in-house restaurant (Bica do Sapato) the staff and clientele merge seamlessly into its amazing design: tulip chairs, 1970s lamps and amazing photos blown up to gigantic proportions.
Actor John Malkovich is said to be one of the moneymen behind this great place on the harbor. The food is international, with a strong whiff of Portuguese. A handy hint is to always carry a language guide with culinary terms to help you decipher the menus. There’s also a sushi bar, ideal for a pre-clubbing snack.
As most modern stores in Lisbon are open late, we start our evening in Alfama with some window shopping at Loja da Atalaia, the second-hand designer store nearby. There are many classics here alongside some very rare items. And now “Let there be Lux!” Lisbon’s hippest disco beckons and we’re smart enough to get there before 1 am, cleverly avoiding some very long lines – a wise move, given that this is widely known to be the coolest club in the city.
The atmosphere inside manages to be easygoing, avoiding attitude or wealthy poseurs throwing their money in your face. This is a place where you make the party happen, whether you’re gay, straight, male, female, a dancer or a talker. You can bathe in the serenity of the harbor from the balcony, whereas inside, under the pretense of conversing with your partner, you can check out the crowd hugging each other and going mad on the dance floor. Attractive bar staff even makes hauling drinks a pleasantly flirtatious experience.
At 4 am, against our better knowledge, we skip off to one of the many steamy African clubs in the city. The pumping zouk music keeps us going until sunrise.
Looking for that perfect place to rest your head after a night of dancing in Lisbon? Check out this hotel!