Unique bar ‘Pensão Amor’ (‘Love’ Guesthouse) Lisbon: former red light district, sailors, pink street & pole dance

Rua Nova do Carvalho in Lisbon, located behind the Time Out famous market & foodhall near the river Tagus, was for decades known as a street in the city’s red light district with bars named after European capitals (like Copenhagen,  Oslo or Roterdão (Rotterdam) and Jamaica bar to attract the sailors who stepped off their boats here.

Bar ‘Pensão Amor’ Lisbon: wonderful drawings on the walls of the stairs

Former red light district

‘Pensão Amor’ is located in a typical Portuguese 18th-century building. Once a cheap pension with rooms rented by the hour to prostitutes and their clients to enjoy a short moment of love 😉

Along the 5 floors of the building you can admire remake copies of old posters from burlesque shows and peep shows.

Drawing artist Mario Belem

Bar ‘Pensão Amor’ Lisbon: burlesque decor & ceilings with frescoes

Wonderful décor

The ceilings of this former ‘guesthouse’ are painted with frescoes, the walls are covered with mirrors, paintings and old posters, and decorative pieces give the space an old burlesque, relaxed atmosphere. Amazing! The wonderful décor is recalling the history of the building.

Bar ‘Pensão Amor’ Lisbon: the pole dance room

Pole dance & YouTube: Marina mey

Now ‘Pensão Amor’ is one of the most popular bars in Lisbon with various spaces for events like concerts, ateliers, a book store (love/erotica), a trendy hair saloon, bars and a bar with Peruvian specialties. The pole dance room is decorated with leopard and gold. Pole dance workshops are held here to learn the tricks of seduction…

Rua Nova do Carvalho, hip and trendy street in Lisbon

Area Cais do Sodré  

Nowadays this area is a hip and trendy region in Lisbon.

Rua Nova do Carvalho is a street lined with hip bars and clubs that become crowded after 2AM when the bars in the legendary area Bairro Alto start to close.

Rua Nova do Carvalho, hip and trendy pink street in Lisbon

More remarkable bars in this street:

bar/cafe Sol e Pesca, and Bar da Velha Senhora (Old Ladies Bar).

‘Pensão Amor’ Lisbon – Erika Reusens admires the bar in burlesque style

The bar has two entrances Rua do Alecrim 19  including an outside café terrace) and on Rua Nova do Carvalho. YouTube

Pensão Amor Art & culture, Bars | Cocktails  € 8.00, beer € 3. Facebook

Mon – Wed 12:00 – 02:00, Thu – Fri 12:00 – 04:00, Sat 18:00 – 04:00

Bar ‘Pensão Amor’ Lisbon – stairs to the bar

YouTube

More about the the metamorphosis of this area: Portugaldailyview & video

Looking for a short-term apartment in Lisbon? My 3-bedroom apartment in historic area Mouraria with 30 m lovely private patio 🙂

Bar ‘Pensão Amor’ Lisbon : drawing stairs to the bar

A brief introduction to the gay bars in Bairro Alto Lisbon & Gay Clubs and Parties

Bairro Alto is a fantastic old neighbourhood in the center of the city. One of the oldest parts of town. Literally, Bairro Alto means ‘High neighbourhood’, as it is on top of one of the seven hills of Lisbon. It is a maze of narrow streets streets filled with old fashion and charming grocery stores during the day, but at night, bars suddenly appear everywhere from behind the shutter doors.

Bairro Alto_Lisbon_gay_neighbourhood

Since the eighties Bairro Alto has become ‘the place to be’ when it comes to nightlife. When the locals go out and say they go ‘ao Bairro’ (‘to the neighbourhood’) they can only mean Bairro Alto. Don’t expect big clubs though, you will find these in other parts of the city.

Bairro Alto was well known as the center of journalism in Portugal, all the main newspapers had their offices in the neighbourhood. And journalists need bars to get inspiration, and well, one thing let to another. The neigbourhood now attracts people from all walks of life even with the publishers all long and gone.

The Portugese tend to go out very late. They’ll leave the house at about midnight and start the night of easy with a drink in one of the bars, and when it’s warm out they prefer the streets. In summertime it is hard to move in Bairro Alto, all the little streets are crowded with people. The first days you will think a local holiday is being celebrated, but it’s just normal summer madness. Most places in Bairro Alto close at 02:00. For people heading for the nightlife, Bairro Alto is a pleasant warming-up.

Bairro Alto Lisboa - Gay Picture Rene van Gijn 0936

Picture: Rene van Gijn

Gay bars

Now that you know something about Bairro Alto it’s time to get down to business: Where can you go and meet new friends? The Portuguese are not so open about their sexual preferences and the few people that are ‘out’ you’ll probably find in Bairro Alto. But don’t worry, the neighbourhood is very famous across the globe and you are sure to meet many nice guys when you hit the streets.

Bairro Alto has about 50 different bars and small clubs and the majority of the places is not gay, but most of them are ‘gay-friendly’. Cruising however is not recommended. Gay Clubs and Parties in Lisbon .

Beach 19, Portugal’s most famous and popular gay beach & how to get there

Portas Largas

The best place to start of is Portas Largas as it opens early (at about five already), it’s in the heart of Bairro Alto on Rua da Atalaia. The bar is very international and you’ll most likely be served by some cute muscly Brazilian guys that already work there for years. The owner of Portas Largas has his own hotel round the corner of the bar ‘Anjo Azul’ where you will be very welcome as well.

In Portas Largas you can drink caipirinha’s (they’re quite good) and jars of Sangria. From early on the place attracts an international crowd.

Fragil

This is a small but very cool club facing the entrance of Portas Largas. Famous for it’s enormous influence on Portugese club life and music. Many famous Dj’s have played here.

The audience is 90% gay on most nights, the door policy is friendly but not everybody is allowed in.

Fragil_club_gay_lisbon_Bairro Alto

Clubs: World famous club in Lisbon ‘Lux Fragil’, unique river Tejo location, trendy hot spot & John Malkovitch

Many experts say this is one of the best clubs in Europe. A three floor building on a unique location along the river Tejo, near train station Santa Apolónia.

Lux_Fragil_Lisbon_clubs

After his succes with the Bairro Alto club Fragil, Manuel Reis used his experiences in creating this trendy hot spot together with associate John Malkovitch (yes, you are right, the actor). This club is certainly still one of the top clubs in town, but the glory days were the opening year 1999 up until about 5 years ago (I’m sorry, but we have to be honest). Still worth a visit though, not in the last place for the top musical attractions you will find here. The view from the gigantic balcony also remains unbeatable.

The place is divided in three floors. On ground floor you will find the club area, a rectangle and dark room with two bars and a stage. First floor is a bar and lounge, with a smaller open space in the middle for dancing. But go to the balcony first and take your time to enjoy the riverview. The decoration of the bar/ lounge changes at least every half year (my personal favourite was the era that the whol place was filled with enourmous beenbags and ‘pouffes’). The second floor is a roofterrace, only open in summer.

Lux_Club_Lisbon_nightlife

Lux fragil open it’s doors for clubbers usually around midnight, but the best time to arrive is from 3.00 till 5.00. As most bars in Bairro Alto close around 2:00 am, all barowners, DJ’s and nightflies choose where to go. Doors close at 5:00. But the club stays open till about 08:00 or 09:00.
There’s many concerts in Lux as well, starting earlier. For an agenda of the clubnights and the concerts visit the luxfragil website.

Resident DJ’s

All major DJ’s from Europe play in Lux, but there are a few Portuguese stars that made their way to the top behind the desks in Lux Fragil.

Probably the most famous of them all is DJ Vibe. Check out some of his mixes on his myspace page. Facebook. He’s one of the residents in Lux and of course a well-known producer.

Rui Vargas is no doubt one of the Lux Fragil dinosaurs. You can see him in Lux almost every week.