Lisbon is a wine-lovers city, also great if you are on a budget. Creative cocktails are more rare, but not if you know where to look. See all the spots we dropped into here for a drink, and theres more photos and info on dining of Hobnob’s 5-day tour of Lisbon in our posts Best Lisbon Dining and Street Scenes and Scenic Spots.
We thought a drink before dinner would be perfect here and our timing was just right. It went from daylight to dark, just as we set off for our dinner reservation. This spot is located on the Avenida da Liberdade on the top of the Tivoli hotel.
Off the elevator leads to a narrow walkway with a staircase at then end… before the big reveal. (seen in the photo at the top of this post)
The space had 3 levels, on level 2 was a DJ playing some fun dance tunes, but not too loudly. Right, the lighting is starting to get more dramatic around the central bar area.
The view stretched all the way to the river. Since Lisbon is such a hilly city, there are many opportunities to cast your eyes over the landscape.
Sky Bar, Av. da Liberdade 185, 1269-050 Lisboa, open daily 5 to 1 am
Our very last stop on the trip was to a unique and knowledgeable cocktail bar, located on a side street in the Alfama area of Lisbon. Here we were treated by the owner and person behind the cool concept, Manuel Barreira, personally in this 12-seat space. The idea: Manuel asks you a series of questions: What’s your favorite fruit, what spirit do you gravitate to, among others, and will create a custom mix just for you. There’s also a list on the blackboard for those who crave something from there.
For such a tiny place, he has an admirable collection of spirits, fruits, and ice selection. This was a special experience, and totally fun, as you are almost required to make friends as you nuzzle together awaiting your special cocktail.
Manuel does the final pour on my rum drink. Right, the location is easy to miss, but is worth the effort. Here’s a peek from the street.
Our new French friend poses with her martini. Right, Manuel, whose attention to detail is a plus, adds an oversized square cube to his latest concoction.
Bob sips his gin-based cocktail. Right, I love rum, and these bottles were part of the cocktail Manuel created for me.
Manuel’s book, in which he asks certain guests to sign. He plans to put the pages behind a large painting of a woman which graces one wall. I was honored to add my two cents. Right, a non-alcoholic vodka was used to make a drink for a pregnant woman in the crowd.
A great group of people showed up to join us. They all knew each other for 30 years, and now live in far-flung places, but get together every year for a trip. We had so much fun hanging out with them. It’s the perfect place to make new friends.
Ulysses Speakeasy, R. da Regueira 16A, 1100-437 Lisboa, facebook: Ulysses, Hours: Thursday – Saturday 8pm to 2am; Sunday – Wednesday, 8pm to 1:00am; Reservations are recommended, via email: [email protected] or WhatsApp / phone +351 927 696684 or Instagram @UlyssesLisbon
We had dinner upstairs at Jncquoi, but the bar downstairs was worth checking out for a nightcap. The design was quite lush and swanky, and if it were not a Monday night, I think it would have been packed with people ready to party.
This is where we were introduced to Alvarinho, the white wine from the northwest of Portugal called Vinho Verde region. Alvarinho has a signature floral/fruity profile with notes of lime, honeysuckle, peach, and grapefruit. We were hooked. (and incidentally, wine in Portugal is very reasonably priced. Bonus!)
A unique feature: the bathroom area in the shape of a circle, had a dj booth at its center. Right, each bathroom was fronted by a set of swinging doors, without a lock. Inside, a black toilet, and black toilet paper were found, with secretive ways of flushing and turning on the water to the sink. See how long it takes you to figure it out.
Jncquoi, Av. da Liberdade 182 184, 1250-146 Lisboa, open daily noon to 2am (Thurs, Fri, Sat) or midnight (Sunday through Wednesday)
We came across this wine bar en route to Epur in the Chiado area of Lisbon, where we were having dinner. Intrigued by the name, we thought we’d give it a shot. We were pleasantly surprised by the extensive menu and knowledgeable staff for a spot that seemed quite casual. Not only was the wine fantastic, but it was quite reasonably priced (we kept getting sticker shock upon viewing the bill, in the sense we were pleasantly surprised!) Also impressive were the statement chandeliers.
The scene out in front. Right, Bob fans out the extensive wine list, with helpful photos.
The sommelier here was from Brazil, and not only recommended a fantastic taste, he also helped us decide where to see a Fado show later, and assisted in making the reservation. We continued our Alvarinho theme, this time with 2018 Casa Ermelinda Freitas.
The lounge area behind our wooden table. I’m not sure how the vineyard, Casa Ermelinda Freitas ties into this wine bar and tapas place, but it was a wonderful stop.
Wine Not?, R. Ivens 45, 1200-226 Lisboa, no website
Seeing a Fado performance was on our list of things to do, and Café Luso was one of the city’s oldest and most traditional spot to do a viewing. Since we are totally snobby about dining out, we chose to see the show after dinner, instead of eating dinner there. Since this place is open till 2am, it fit in nicely with our plans.
Located in the Barrio Alto section of the city, the area was loaded with venues for fun. Here we see the space before it got late and they closed a curtain around us to make the space more intimate. Right, more wine.
Café Luso – Fado & Food Group, Tv. da Queimada 10, 1200-365 Lisboa
Located in the lobby of the Myriad Hotel, this was the setup seen next to the breakfast buffet, the local bubbly brand, Divali. We also had some nice cocktails here (see the dining post and passion fruit sparkling cocktails we had before dinner.)
River Lounge, R. do Cais das Naus, Lote 2.21.01, 1990 Lisbon
Restaurants open later in Lisbon, so we needed a stop before our dinner at Attla to rest our weary bones and sip on some wine. Just a few blocks up the hill we came across a small square and a lovely little spot with bougainvillea out front. Always a good sign.
Since it was still early (7pm) we were the only people there. It looked like a sweet, local place to gather.
31 d’Armada, Praça da Armada 31, 1350-027 Lisboa