The city of Lisbon offers a wide array of fun activities and great tourist attractions during the daylight hours. But when the sun goes down, the city really shines with a fabulously varied and robust nightlife scene. There’s much to choose from in the evening, as Lisbon is home to many cool bars, clubs, live music venues, and restaurants. So, if you’re into checking out the local culture, the Portuguese capital doesn’t disappoint. When visiting Lisbon, be sure to enjoy a few exciting nighttime activities in the city:
Lisbon boasts a cool and entertaining bar scene throughout the city. These diverse watering holes range from traditional and historic to modern and hip. When you’re planning to sip a few drinks at a bar, keep in mind that most places are very casual, laid-back, and friendly. As a bonus, it’s also not unusual for the bars to serve customers a small plate of complimentary snacks (such as olives or chips) to accompany the beverages.
Several great bars in the city are:
- Skybar: Offering one of the most stunning panoramic views in the city, the chic Skybar is situated atop the luxury Tivoli hotel. With a sprawling terrace as well as plenty of indoor space, Skybar also serves food as well as delectable cocktails.
- MiniBar: This whimsical yet modern bar/restaurant created by famed chef Jose Avillez, is not to be missed when visiting Lisbon. Cocktails are surprising and delightful, and the accompanying molecular gastronomic specialties are purely magical.
- Red Frog: This hip speakeasy-style bar features exceptionally crafted cocktails made with fresh ingredients. You need to ring the doorbell before you are allowed inside—and their secret room adds extra intrigue.
- Lounge: Popular with the locals, Lounge is a laid-back, roomy bar with a chill, neighborhood vibe. It tends to get busy on weekends, so it’s best to arrive on the early side if you wish to enjoy a cocktail without a big crowd.
- Fabrica Musa: This craft brewery in the Marvila neighborhood (dubbed “Lisbon’s beer district”) features a spacious taproom with great ambiance and a vast array of brews, from crisp lagers to hoppy IPAs.
Fado Music Venues
The slow, melancholic sound of Lisbon’s famous fado music spills out of tiny bars and venues throughout the city, and it’s well worth planning a night around this centuries-old musical style. This is unique to Portugal, and it’s a cool experience that you won’t want to miss.
There are dozens of tiny fado places to choose from—follow your ears—or head to O Povo, which has free weekday shows from 8 p.m. featuring many up-and-coming performers. To ensure an authentic experience, avoid the ‘fado and dinner’ packages that are advertised throughout the Bairro Alto and Alfama neighborhoods. Instead, pick a quiet local spot, and you’ll be rewarded with lower prices, good food, and a more authentic experience.
Tip: To gain a more thorough perspective on the music, visit the Fado Museum in Alfama ahead of time, to learn more about the history of this unique soulful sound.
Lisbon clubs are hopping all year long. So, whether you’re after the best international DJs, old-school pop, hip hop or anything in between, Lisbon’s clubs have you covered.
Unlike the casual bars in town, the more exclusive nightclubs have strict dress codes and door policies, with some requiring reservations ahead of time. No matter which club you're planning to visit, dress to impress, don’t expect anywhere to be open before midnight—and prepare to party until the sun comes up.
A few hot spots include:
- The Music Box: This popular venue is located in the busy red-light district of Cais do Sodre. You can dance ‘till dawn at this legendary favorite, as it is famous for staying open at the latest.
- Dock’s Club: A hip destination that’s situated down near the bridge in Alcântara, Dock’s Club gets very busy in the summer and is known for attracting a younger crowd.
- Sabotage Club: If you want to rock ‘till you drop, this is the place! This hard rock club in the Cais do Sodré district shines a spotlight on rock, indie, power pop, punk and more. Check the schedule for their weekly live music.
- Lux: This posh dance club is located on the waterfront. It’s considered high-end with prices to match.
Although Lisbon doesn’t attract as many internally-known acts as larger cities like Madrid or London, there are still many fantastic musical options around town. As with anywhere else, reserve in advance for a popular show, because aside from the larger MEO Arena, most venues are relatively small, so tickets often sell out quickly.
One must-visit venue is Lisbon’s stunning opera house, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos, which is located in the Chiado neighborhood in the heart of the city. Music by famous composers (such as Wagner, Mozart, Stravinsky) is regularly performed in this tiny but beautiful, theater that dates back to the 1700s.
While it’s possible to book online, you can usually get seats for all but the most popular shows just by showing up at the box office a few days in advance. If you’re staying at a hotel, your concierge may be able to help obtain tickets if needed. Like most concerts, select a few music venues in advance of your visit. You never know which singer or band may be in town!
There are several festivals in Lisbon held throughout the year, and one of the largest is the Feast of St. Anthony that takes place every June. During the month, locals celebrate Festas de Lisboa with the excitement and festivities peaking on June 12, which is the actual feast day of Lisbon’s patron saint. You can’t miss the celebrations. Neighborhoods and streets are decorated, and there are live music and entertainment around the city—that go until the early morning hours on weekends. You will also find a seemingly endless assortment of local culinary delights—including the famous grilled sardines—being cooked up outdoors under massive tents. Hotels often book up months in advance during this popular festival.
Tips for Going Out in Lisbon
- Similar to other southern European countries, the nightlight action in Lisbon kicks off very late. So, unless you’re dining in the more touristy spots, many restaurants don’t open until 7 p.m., and won’t start getting crowded for an hour or two later.
- The local Lisbon bars are packed until well after midnight—and clubs don’t start hopping until at least 2 a.m.
- Lisbon is a busy city, especially in summer, so if you have your heart set on a specific restaurant or club, be sure to make a reservation.
- Tipping is not expected. Locals usually “round up” their bill and leave the change for the server or bartender.
- Busses and trams in Lisbon are on different schedules, so some stop running earlier than others. (All stop at midnight.) But no worries! Uber and taxis are plentiful in Lisbon.
- Be sure to leave your drinks in the bar. Aside from the designated festival areas, it’s illegal to walk around Lisbon with an open container of alcohol.
- Lisbon can get chilly at night, even in summer. Remember to take a light sweater or jacket with you.