Joana here - Farah Trading Co's content writer, writing you to you from my home in Leria, Portugal about how to drink out like a local in one of my favorite cities in Portugal - Lisbon! I lived in Lisbon for ten years, working in the wine industry, and I can assure you there is something for everyone.
Let's start with the first drink of the day - coffee! You’ll quickly realize that in Portugal we drink expressos all day long and we do it either standing up over the counter or sitting down at a table. An expresso in Portugal, more often than not, comes with a side of pastel de nata – please note that this even though a “nata” is not mandatory it is welcome and delicious.
Beer is also a very popular drink enjoy in Portugal, especially when the warm weather kicks off. It is fairly cheap so it is one of the most common drinks going out - you can have “imperiais” (beer on tap) from 1€ to 1,50€. Super Bock and Sagres are the most popular and omnipresent beers in Portugal - but the craft beer scene is heating up!
Now, let’s get to one my favorite beverages - wine. What to drink, where and at what times. The quick and easy answer would be: anything, anywhere at anytime since it will be difficult to find anything other than well-made wine in Portugal. Plus, it’s always 5 o'clock somewhere in the world!
The long answer is right below, with a drop down list of places to discover and enjoy once you’re here.
ENJOYING WINE ON LISBON'S ROOFTOPS
Lisbon is notoriously known for its light and its views, so rest assured that one of the best ways to enjoy the city is to go up those stunning historic downtown buildings and enjoy a glass of wine at sundown.
Here I share a few spots where you can do just that:
The location alone is a selling point: the hotel’s rooftop has a privileged view over the city and a direct sightline to the castle – it is a hard one to beat, for sure! It is frequented by tourists and locals alike and has a menu that matches its wonderful terrace.
You’ll never notice it if you’re just walking down the street because there is no sign advertising it, but Entretanto is a panoramic bar located on the Hotel’s 7th floor and you’ll want to go there everyday of the week just to enjoy the view – it is unmissable and the wine list and snacks menu is fairly good too with dishes combining tradition with a modern inspiration.
A place with a view so magnificent, they added sun loungers so you can stay, relax and enjoy both the view and the sun for as long as you want, while sipping on some drinks. You’ll be inclined to take pictures and post them – and even though you should (a view like this comes with bragging rights) don’t waste too long as you should make the most of it while you’re there!
Explore WINE BARS
Lisbon is the sunniest city and has some of the best natural light in Europe. The sun reflects deliciously on the river bed onto the hills, the cobblestone, the parks, the gardens and the squares, highlighting the city’s beauty, color and warmth, making it the perfect scenario for an escapade or a background for those Instagram bragging pics.
This is a city of simple things, where you can live at a much slower pace and just sit down, relax and enjoy a glass of wine to soak it all in. Skip the tourist places and ask locals about their favorite gems.
Usually, you'll find locals going out for a drink at around 10pm or 11pm. Dinner is usually around 8pm and we go out for drinks after that. Now, it is normal to be out in bars until around 1am or 2am and after that, if you're still in the mood for fun, you can hop on to some clubs that usually stay open until around 5am or 6am.
By the end of the week and on weekends, people like to spend time simply eating "petiscos" and tiny snacks with beer and cocktails with friends before dinner. That's especially true in the summer, when days (and nights!) are warmer.
This is probably one of the best wine experiences you will get during your stay in Lisbon. They don’t serve anything cooked, so prepare yourself for an array of cheese and charcuterie plates as well as delicious finger licking canned goods.
All the products are made in Portugal, both wine and food, and you better believe they own all the perfect pairings within the +500 wines within the bar (yes, they have over 500 wines). Make a reservation in advance and give yourself at least 3 hours to complete a meal – also, make sure you ask all the questions to the owner as he loves to talk everything about wines.
It opened as Lisbon’s smallest wine bar. It’s all about natural, organic, biodynamic and low intervention wines from small independent producers. The staff is great and they’ll have a nice little menu of snacks to go with the wines too. Sitting inside will be difficult but the bar is right by a nice little square where you can sit and enjoy it all.
Natural wine has taken the wine world by storm and Lisbon is no foreigner to this concept. At Sr. Uva, you’ll find a tiny little place filled with the most interestingly curated natural wine list in the city sitting next to a plant based food menu. It’s a place that embodies sustainability and offers wine from the best small and unknown wine producers.
TASTE WINES OF PORTUGAL IN ONE PLACE
Walk to the city’s historical main square, Terreiro do Paço, sitting big, bold and beautiful by the river, patiently embracing all passersby. Then look to your right and go into the Wines of Portugal store. Relax and discover Portugal by the glass, tasting wines from all the different regions.
A tiny little shop containing (almost) all of Lisbon’s wines. Ask the staff some questions about the area, they will be delighted to take you on a store tour and quickly explain the terroir to you. Then you can always enjoy a small tasting or maybe take some wines to go.