I have decided to take you all on a little trip down memory lane and discuss a typical night of weekend clubbing in Lisboa, Portugal and the surrounding cities. The night life there is amazing; everyone should experience it and come this time next month I will be packing up and headed back.
Typically, I start my evening around 8pm in Cascais at one of my favorite places Restaurante Paradigma, they have a nice wine selection and an even better assortment of cocktails. This venue is what my close group of friends (The Plastics) considers “our spot” because every Tuesday and Wednesday you can find us here after work cutting up. With a modern appeal, warm an easy lighting, accompanied with great music the ambiance is just right. Though the selection of music is not always a playlist of well-known or popular artists there is a good mix of indie, acoustic, and European house music; all played at a reasonable decibel that is pleasing to the ear. Resturante Paradigma is a great place to relax and have easy conversations. There is no wonder why I prepare for what can be anywhere from a 9 to 13 hour night, all right there.
Next up is the place you really want to start your drinking festivities: Bairro Alto. This district of the city is as rich in history as it is with the money of tourists looking to enjoy a good night of drinking, haha. With a diverse and vibrant assortment of clubs, bars, restaurants, and coffee houses you are sure to find something good to drink, eat or listen to. As soon as we arrive in Bairro Alto, I prefer to hit up my favorite bar Majong because they make the best Gin & Tonic (I can’t tell you why, just ask for a Hendrick’s & Tonic) and you won’t be disappointed. Not only is this a popular destination for new and returning visitors to Portugal but it is also a favorite among the locals and a great place to network and meet new associates. Here you can sit and watch the silent cartoons that play on the wall and drift away as you tune out the many conversations that vary from Portuguese; to French, Deutsch, English, and even Flemish (which I love to hear). After a few drinks, it’s on to more bars where you can have your choice of any drink however I prefer to scout out the first bar with good Sangria (which on the Iberian Peninsula can be difficult since everyone claims to have the best). After two or three hours of enjoying everything from samba to main stream pop hits at different venues, it’s time for a change of scenery [This is where it gets good].
Like a true club nomad I carry myself to the first place I can think of right off the Marginal because at 2am the bars are just closing and it’s time to get it in. Main and/or Music Box are normally my first choices to kick off my night of dancing. Both play an eclectic assortment of music and are culturally diverse enough to where I can let loose. I normally cannot go in these spots sober because the amount of life surging through the place requires you to already be on that level, if you catch my drift. Heavy with Techno and House Music these places are where I imagine my European Experience to truly have started. I envision when I am close to death the flashing lights and crazy memories of these places will play in my head like a movie reel with “One day we’ll be old” or “We are Young” as the soundtrack playing in the background.
After an hour or so I am off to find my final destination just on the other side of the bridge in Amora. If I have had too much to drink I stay on the Lisboa side of the bridge and go to Docks which is hands down (if I plan my night right) the best spot for me. Nevertheless, across the bridge is a whole street dedicated to discotecas. My top pick is Discoteca Ondeando which is solely an Africana Discoteca… I get every bit of my multicultural life in there. The enjoyment I get from the experience always feels like a new thrill, this is probably because at this point my learning curve is limited to grooving to a new song or learning a new dance. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy learning new words but my elementary Portuguese makes dancing the only form of communication that matters and this is a language I know all too well!
On the nights that I prefer to frequent the clubs in Lisboa there is an array of Angolan music and I enjoy every bit of it, the beats and rhythm are similar to music heard in the West Indies. On Friday or Saturday I go to Docks and on Sundays I hit up BBC (but this is if I am up to it, because a brother has to work on Monday). At Docks rich vibes blare from the speakers with the sounds of Kudoro, Sembas, and Kizomba music along with a few Hip-Hop tunes remixed to fit the style of the local clientele. I normally sweat like a hooker in church as I dance, but I get the best photos and after working up an appetite and releasing every bit of stress from the weeks prior; I like to take in one last look of the amazing view that Docks has to offer. As I the “Americano” affectionately says “Ciao Ciao” giving the typical double kiss on the cheeks to the ladies and a solid hand shake/half hug to the fellas, I kiki one last time as we part ways and look to find jackets, bags, or our friends we came with. The feeling of soberness settles in as the sunrises in the back drop over the mouth of the Tagus River and the Cristo Rei over looks us. At this point I am tired and it is time to head to a café for a quick pastry and coffee before I go home to crash and burn. Around 8 or 9AM the next day, I pour my favorite local red wine or vinho tinto and settle in.
A night full of culture and music is by my standard a good one. Almost all of my Portuguese friends I have met randomly, through some concert or a night of clubbing. Every time I leave the house for a night of clubbing I say to myself “Try something new, do something different” and this is why everyone says “If you go with Taz just be ready to come back in the afternoon” it has and does happen. I play hard and work even harder. Look out for a few more exciting posts in April when I am back in full party mode.
Here is a link to some music, if you want to experience some of the more common sounds heard in the Portuguese clubs, I frequent. There are multiple mixes so go through and see if you like it, I promise it’s so worth it. Drop a comment below and tell me your thoughts.
Jovial Jaunts is a personal blogger series hosted by Tazeem Rumal. Taz will document his travels, share his experiences living abroad, offer his opinions on topics and venture out to ask thought provoking questions.