Lisbon’s Neighborhood for Nightlife

Courtesy Mario Fernandes /

In Portugal’s capital, Príncipe Real is the place to be at night.

Since the mid-1990s, Bairro Alto has transformed itself from red-light district to the center of the Portuguese capital’s cultural vanguard. But only recently have the bohemians made it north to Príncipe Real. By day, the leafy area could be mistaken for just another picturesque quartier: Locals play cards in the shade of a century-old cedar, the focal point of the well-tended garden in the heart of the neighborhood. Clothes dry over the balconies of elegant, pastel-hued townhouses. But at night, when the traditional bakeries shutter, the fashion-forward boutiques next to them remain open. Bars serving everything from vinho verde to Manhattans roll up their gates, kitchens spring to life and Príncipe Real comes alive.


Espaço B: In their carefully curated minimalist boutique, José Luís Barbosa and his wife, Leonor Barata, both fashion stylists and interior designers, showcase avant-garde fashion, from wood-and-rope jewelry (from $30) by Portuguese brand Morfologica to pebbled leather wallets by internationally recognized ones like Chi Chi Fan and Naterra (from $20). At Rua Dom Pedro V 65;

Fabrico Infinito: This four-year-old gallery-shop-café hybrid combines new design and old trees. Owner Marcela Fraga Brunken, a designer herself, chose the location because of the 200-year-old Araucaria tree in the backyard, but the objects she carries, from starburst-style chandeliers made with Swarovski crystals by Portuguese architect Leo Marote ($37,640) to organic cotton–and–rubber tennis shoes ($125), are cutting-edge. At Rua Dom Pedro V, no. 74;


100 Maneiras: One of Lisbon’s rising culinary talents, Bosnian-born chef Ljubomir Stanisic marries Portuguese and Yugoslav flavors. While the menu changes every two months, staples like his Estendal de Bacalhau—an amuse-bouche of cod chips on a clothesline, served with a piquant pil-pil sauce—remain. At Rua do Teixeira 35; 351-910/307-575;

Assinatura: If the set table, hanging upside down from the ceiling, doesn’t grab your attention here, then chef Henrique Mouro’s imaginative iterations of traditional Portuguese cooking will. Order the escargots with zucchini blossoms, and save room for the scrumptious dessert of coconut with pineapple and mint. At Rua Vale do Pereiro 19; 351-21/386-7696;

Orpheu Caffe: Gabriela Santos and Rui Sousa left their jobs as tax consultants to open this year-old homey café. People-watching and torricados (snacks), like rye toast with goat cheese and honey, prevail. $ At Praça do Príncipe Real, No. 5A; 351-218/044-499.

Pedro e o Lobo: The city’s newest hot spot, set within a former art gallery, attracts everyone from business moguls to fashionistas. Chefs and co-owners Diogo Noronha and Nuno Bergonse met in Barcelona but have worked at Per Se in New York and Lisbon’s Michelin-starred Eleven. Their elevated Portuguese cuisine includes riffs on the omnipresent cod: here, a soup of roasted tomato and vanilla-infused codfish. At Rua do Salitre 169; 351-211/933-719;


Arte & Vinhos: Antiques auctioneer Rosário Teixeira de Azevedo combines her love of vintage furnishings and fine wine at this new pint-sized bar. There are reds from the Douro Valley and Alentejo regions and Vinho Verde from the north, as well as paintings and gilded Portuguese wood carvings. At Rua Dom Pedro V 63;

Cinco Lounge: Journeyman mixologist Dave Palethorpe has poured cocktails in Sydney, New York and London. But in 2004 he opened this intimate bar serving Lisbon’s best handcrafted cocktails, like Black Pepper and Basil, made with Tanqueray gin. At Rua Ruben A. Leitão 17A;


CS Vintage Lisboa: As the name indicates, this new hotel, housed in a 19th-century apartment building, looks toward the past—1920s Lisbon, to be exact. The 56 sprawling rooms are wrought in sepia tones, but the design is modern, giving an effect of glamour, not nostalgia. Rooms start at $240; Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca 2; 351-210/405-400;


56Artes: Tucked away on a side street, this small gallery features ceramic and clay figurines by celebrated Portuguese artists like Júlia Cota and Júlia Ramalho, granddaughter of the country’s most revered sculptor, Rósa Ramalho. $ At Rua Dom Pedro V 56A; 351-213/225-405

$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.