The vibe is sedated and artsy – apart from the Eurodisco that was pumping endlessly. But this is no hipster bar: the staff are all north of 50, attired in matching red waistcoats, which works well with all the Bavarian beer mugs, British bulldog statues and portraits of extinct European monarchs.
Things to watch out for in Lisbon
Avoid, avoid, avoid.
Drug dealers: I spent my first night in Lisbon thinking I must look like a MASSIVE tripper because random men kept coming up in the street and asking if I wanted to buy coke or weed. Then I remembered that it isn’t a criminal offence to carry or use drugs here. People are selling drugs openly everywhere you go, especially to young tourists. Be aware, though: it is still illegal, but you won’t go to jail.
Falling on your ass: Lisbon has some beautifully paved streets. They are especially vintage-looking around the central Baixa/Chiado area; white limestone polished to a shine by centuries of Portuguese shoes. Gorgeous, until it rains, that is. The moment any moisture hits them, you will nearly end up on your ass so many times you’ll become convinced you are starring in a hidden camera show. My trainers couldn’t handle them at all. Take shoes with a bit of grip if rain is forecast.
Barrio Alto: this area is party central, so head here at 2am when you want to keep drinking. Street upon street of people standing outside drinking until sunrise. It’s great, but if you’re going to get any sleep on your trip, you might not want to stay in the middle of this area.