Fado history Mouraria Lisbon: a passionate liaison & first Fado singer Maria Severa

Historic area Mouraria contains a tangled street layout just as in Alfama, which has remained since the times of the Moors.

Mouraria Historical Center typical lley

Mouraria, Lisbon, one of Lisbon’s oldest districts.

The Arabs withdrew into this quarter after Lisbon was conquered by the Portuguese – a ghetto for people of different faiths arose. In the 19th C. prostitution and fado, which at this time was considered to be indecent, brought the quarter a bad name.

Mouraria Lisbon: Escadinhas de São Cristóvão. How to get there

Nowadays renovation of houses, which are threatened with falling into ruins, and an improvement in the living standards of the inhabitants of Mouraria has only begun recently. The area is full of typical grocery stores, old bars (taverna’s) and cheap (but good!) small restaurants.

Looking for a vacation stay in Lisbon? My Three bedroom apartment with sunny pátio (30 m2) in Mouraria – (short term rentals).

Mouraria historical center fado Rua da Severa


Largo da Severa’ Lisbon in area Mouraria.

Fado

It is said that the melancholic sounds of the music and singing of the Moorish people was at the base of fado music. The quarter is still today associated with fado: The ‘Casa de Severa’ at Largo da Severa 2 was the home of the legendary fadista Maria Severa Onofriando, who died at age 26 on November 30, 1846, either from suicide or tuberculosis.

Famous performer of fado Amália Rodrigues (”Lady of Lisbon”) the ‘queen of Fado’ was born near Mouraria on Rua Martim Faz.

Mouraria historical center fado plaque

(‘Mouraria, sculpture Berço do Fado‘, fado was born here)

Rua da Mouraria/ corner Rua do Capelão. Maria Severa is regarded as the first fado singer to have risen to fame, attaining a near-mythical status after her death: Maria had a passionate liaison with a nobleman, Conde de Vimioso. The affair ended badly. But the scandal increased fado’s appeal, leading to the publication of its first sheet music.

Fado Maria Severa painting

Famous painting Maria da Severa, regarded as the first fado singer

Fadistas, as fado singers are known, often wear a black shawl of mourning, as Severa did after her heartbreak. Her story epitomizes fado’s connection with saudade, “a feeling of longing or nostalgia”.

Mouraria Historical Center house Maria Severa fado singer

Fadista Maria da Severa’s house

UPDATE 2014:

Maria da Severa’s house is beautifully remodeled, you can enjoy pure fado here and traditional Portuguese food

There is a plaque in Maria Severa’s memory and a stylized fado guitar can be seen on the newly surfaced road where she lived. The memory of the singer is also kept alive in the pub called “Os Amigos da Severa” (the Friends of Severa) in the nearby Rua do Capelao , with a painting of her hanging on the wall.

Mouraria Fado Friends of Maria Severa

Cafe “Os Amigos da Severa” (the Friends of Severa) Mouraria Lisbon

Rua do Capelao 32, owner senhor Antonio Correia Alves Pais

Walk with friends Ans and Loek in Mouraria: a sua saúde ! Picture: Loek Polack

More about this remarkable little bar.

Bar ‘da Velha Senhora’ Lisbon: burlesque, revue & the day Cesária Évora died

If you like burlesque performances, glittering revue shows and cabaret a must-go place is bar “da Velha Senhora” (Old lady’s bar) in Lisbon! Video:

‘Hallooooooooooooooooooo!”  2 beautiful ladies invite you to enjoy the show

Bar da Velha Senhora” Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

While eating traditional Portuguese snacks (“petiscos“) you can enjoy various artistic performances. This bar is in the same typical Portuguese 18th-century building as Pensão Amor” (a former ‘love’ guesthouse), with a wonderful unique décor . Also really worth a visit!

Stage Bar ”da Velha Senhora” Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

Inside, almost everything complies with the burlesque theme and imagery of Lisbon in the early twentieth century. The building itself – a cultural and artistic project – witnesses the time that thirsty sailors docked in the harbor and spent their free time drinking booze and have fun with women.

Bar ”da Velha Senhora” Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

Former Lisbon’s red light district

The stories of prostitutes and sailors are inseparable from Cais do Sodré, formerly known as Lisbon’s red light district with bars named after northern European capitals (like Copenhagen, or Roterdão, Rotterdam) to attract their sailors who stepped off their boats here.

But times have changed: nowaydays it is a great area to go out at night! Musicbox is a trendy hotspot for live bands and DJ’s, disco clubs Tokyo and Jamaica became two of the most loved alternative clubs in Lisbon.

Bar ”da Velha Senhora” & DJ Rycardo Lisbon, December 17, 2011

The day Cesária Évora died

I will never forget the day Cesária Évora died, December 17, 2011. Early in the evening we went to Bar da Velha Senhora. When DJ Rycardo started to play the famous and wonderful songs of Cesária, suddenly all the people in the bar started spontaneously clapping their hands and some began to cry … I still get goosebumps thinking about that day…!

Bar ”da Velha Senhora” & DJ Rycardo Lisbon: the day Cesária Évora died

A woman jumped on the table and started to dance…….   Amazing!

Popular singer Cesária Évora, “the Barefoot Diva’, has made Cape (Cabo) Verde famous all over the world. She generally performed in bare feet, as a sign of solidarity for the large number of women and children back home in the Cape Verdean Islands who cannot afford shoes.

Cesária Évora: ‘Miss Perfumado (youtube). More about former Portuguese colony Cape Verde (from 1456-1975)

Bar ”da Velha Senhora” Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

Rua Nova do Carvalho 38, Cais do Sodré, Lisbon, tel. (00351)351 213 468 479. Open: Tuesday to Sunday 6pm to 4am . FACEBOOK

Metro: Cais do Sodré. Facebook.com/bardavelhasenhora

Saint Anthony Lisbon party time in June: parades, sardines & Fado music

In June, the month of the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints), the Lisbon nights are filled with lively festivities, parades and live music that take over the city’s historical center.

Lisbon Santo Antonio June garlands Mouraria

Mouraria

The main Saints’ days are for Santo Antonio (June 12-13), John (June 23-24) and Peter (June 28-29). Program Festas de Lisboa’ (also in English)

All the streets in the historical center are decorated with garlands and lights.

Lisbon Santo Antonio 2 women Alfama

Historic Alfama, in June 2008.

Santo Antonio festivities & Portuguese flags (EFC) football

Lisbon craziest night of the year in area Alfama, nearby Mouraria (YouTube)

Lisbon Santo Antonio June restaurant A Tasquinha

Restaurant ‘A Tasquinha’,

Largo Contador Mor, Castelo area, really good sardines!

Lisbon Santo Antonio June Fado Restaurante A Tasquinha area Castelo

Eating sardines while listening to the fado singers.

Fado came long after Saint Anthony, but its major theme is nostalgia and longing-for what is lost and for what has never been gained. Anthony fits right into this scene!

Lisbn June Santo Antonio Faso Alfama

Live fado music in Alfama

The streets are filled with the delicious (strong) smell of sardines being grilled. It’s not a good time for the sardines 😉 though as everywhere in Lisbon you see people grilling sardines outside their homes and the narrow streets fill up people in party mood.

Lison Santo Antoinio June sardines

Sardines & Saint Anthony festivities belong together

On the night of June 12 you can enjoy the famous yearly Santo Antonio costume Parade. All the clubs and associations of Lisbons’ neighbourhoods descend on Avenida da Liberdade to compete for the best parade, music, costume and choreography.

Santo Antionio costume Parade Lisbon

More…..

Santo Antonio (Saint Anthony) Mouraria 2 girls

Lisbon’s craziest night June 12: true love, basil & street parties

The month of June is party time in Lisbon! One of Portugal’s most popular saints, Santo António (Saint Anthony of Padua), was a Fransiscan friar canised by the Catholic Church in record time, one year after his death (on June 13, 1232). On the eve of June 13th Lisbon (and in all of Portugal) turns into one big party, the craziest night of the year!

Lisbon Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 romantic manjerica2

Mouraria, June 12, 2009

Santo Antonio is also the matchmaker saint. A charming custom on the eve of June 12 is for young men to present a newly sproutet basil (manjerico), for a newly sprouted love) to the girls they hope to wed. A frilled and fluted tinsel-trimmed paper carnation of various colors blooms in each pot. Within the petals is a poem or message which indicates the young man’s passion. Often the flower is accompanied by a painted toy, a pretty fan, or some other trifle calculated to appeal to a maiden’s fancy.

Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 Largo do Terreirinho dancing1

Largo do Terreirinho  Mouraria Lisbon

On the Eve of June 13 young girls try various methods of finding out whom they will wed. One favorite way is for a girl to fill her mouth with water and hold it until she hears a boy’s name mentioned. The name she hears is sure to be that of her future husband!

Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 Largo do Terreirinho sardines 6

Largo do Terreirinho  Mouraria Lisbon

In June, the month of the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints), the Lisbon nights are filled with lively festivities, parades and live music that take over the city’s historical center. The main Saints’ days are for Anthony (Antonio June 12-13), John (June 23-24) and Peter (June 28-29). Parades, feast, sardines, wine & live Fado music (2)

Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 Largo do Terreirinho live music

Largo do Terreirinho Mouraria Lisbon

Live music, dancing and plenty of food and drinks like gaseous lemonade, wine, beer or sangria.

Lisbon Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 Largo do Terreirinho sardines9

Largo do Terreirinho Mouraria Lisbon

Traditionally millions of big and tasty sardines (sardinhas), accompanied by traditional bread, are grilled in the month of June in Portugal, high season for this delicious silvery fish. They were already eaten in the XV Century and grilled outdoors, due to the strong aroma that they free when roasting.

Lisbon Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 Largo do Terreirinho students3

Largo do Terreirinho Mouraria Lisbon

Party time, also for students! Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon

Lisbon Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 Largo macho students

Largo do Terreirinho Mouraria Lisbon

The streets are filled with the delicious smell (and the smoke!) of sardines being grilled. After a couple of beers some students show the girls that boys are created with very strong muscles…..whow! 25 push ups!

Lisbon Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 Largo do Terreirinho bar restaurant Anos 60 1

Largo do Terreirinho Mouraria Lisbon Restaurant ‘Anos 60’ (the sixties)

Unique bar and restaurant  ‘Anos 60’ has been established in the nineties in this neighborhood  More…….

Santo Antonio church Largo Santo Antonio a Sé Alfama.

Santo António was born in 1195 in Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood Alfama, where the small church of Santo António da Sé now stands. Young people write letters asking him to furnish sweethearts. These epistles are dropped into a box in the church. When love affairs prosper and suitable mates are found, the box receives thank offerings from the grateful lovers. Mass marriages known as “St. Anthony’s Weddings” are held during the mid-June St. Anthony’s Day celebrations.

More information  ‘Festas de Lisboa’ (visit Lisboa 2014)

Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 5 tram sardines

Largo do Terreirinho Mouraria Lisbon

In June you can enjoy musicians singing fado music in the old trams, some are decorated with sardines…

Thanks to Dorothy Gladys Spicer

Stylish Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon, great spot near vibrant Bairro Alto & champaign

Cool lounge bar in Lisbon with a laid-back vibe. Bicaense is very popular with a youthful and stylish, Portuguese crowd. Located on a rather steep street, Rua da Bica Duarte Belo, 38-42, Santa Catarina, climbed by the famous Bica funicular. Bairro Altonearby, is a fantastic area to explore the vibrant and alternative nightlife in Lisbon.

The Bicaense bar is split into two rooms.

Bicaense Bar Lisbon champaign birthday Laura

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon

Cheers! Laura’ s (second right) midnight birthday surprise: champaign.

Bicaense bar Lisbon Champaign birthday Laura

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon

Caipirinhas and champaign: we had a great time that night!

Bicaense Bar Lisbon near Bairro Alto room 2 dancefloor

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon

In the second room the resident DJs pumping out hip house to really get people in the mood for dancing.

Bicaense Bar Lisbon dancefloor room 2 DJ

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon DJ Rycardo

This bar is a great spot to hit before visiting Lisbon’s clubs like the Docas de Alcantâra, or world famous club Lux , Website

Bar Biaense Lisbon street at night

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon

In case the bar is too crowded: you can always take your drinks outside!

Bicaense Bar Lisbon near Bairro Alto street at night

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon   Facebook

Traditional Fado Vadio Lisbon: taverna ‘Tasca do Jaime’ & black shawl of mourning

UPDATE 2015

Enjoy the real fado while munching on freshly-fried cod pastries in the late afternoon in Tasca do Jaime, one of the most intriguing of Lisbon’s ‘tavernas’. Traditionally, the Fado houses are popular and a meeting spot for families and friends. Close to Lisbon’s legendary flea market ‘Feira da Ladra’

tasca do jaime 2

‘Tasca do Jaime’ taverna Lisbon: real fado music

You won’t always find the best fadistas, but don’t let that scare you off. This is real traditional fado, out of the tourist circle, where the fado singers can enter spontaneously and improvise.

tasca do jaime 1

‘Tasca do Jaime’ taverna Lisbon, Saturday afternoon

As soon as somebody gets up to sing the audience stops talking and all the attention is on the singer. The Portuguese have a lot of respect for the performers and it is of utmost importance that the singers can concentrate and express their emotions in their singing. When the song is about to finish the audience starts applauding and cheering.

tasca do jaime 3

‘Tasca do Jaime’ taverna Lisbon

Fado Vadio on Saturdays, Sundays and public Holidays from 16:00 to 20:00, Rua da Graça 91, Lisbon.

tasca do jaime 4

‘Tasca do Jaime’ taverna Lisbon

Fadistas, as fado singers are known, often wear a black shawl of mourning, as one of Maria Severa did after her heartbreak. Her story epitomizes fado’s connection with saudade, “a feeling of longing or nostalgia”.

Bar ‘ANOS 60’ in area Mouraria Lisbon: the sixties, history & owner Fernando Casanova

UPDATE November 2016: bar ‘ANOS 60’ is closed


Mouraria Lisbon ANOS 60 July 2014 trendy bar

Young people from the US visiting Lisbon, bar ANOS 60 historic area Mouraria Lisbon, July 2014

History BAR ANOS 60 Mouraria (written in 2008)

This unique bar and top-class restaurant has been established in the nineties in the  historic Mouraria neighbourhood and is located at Largo do Terreirinho. It is also one of the best places to talk politics (also in English) and to listen to live music (Fado/Brasilian a.o.). The owner, senhor Fernando Casanova, chose the area of Mouraria because of the historic nature of the neighborhood.

Anos 60 Bar in Mouraria live music

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

Politicians, journalists and many local celebrities meet up in ‘Anos 60’ to discuss politics, dine and enjoy the live Brazilian and Portuguese music. Mariza, the internationally well-known fado singer started her career in Mouraria where she grew up and performed many times in ‘ANOS 60’.

Lisbon Bar Anos 60 Mouraria Che Guevara

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

Che Guevara . ‘Anos 60′ means ‘the sixties’. The name was chosen because of the rough political times in the sixties in Portugal, when the Portuguese people suffered under the corrupt dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, president of the Council of Ministers of Portugal for 36 years, from 1932 to 1968, and founder of the Estado Novo (New Regime).

On April 25, 1974, the Estado Novo finally fell with the Carnation Revolution.

Lisbon Mouraria Bar Anos 60 live music

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

ANOS 60 owner Fernando Casanova was, as a journalist, part of the intellectual opposition and in his bar still many discussion about the era of the revolution take place. Fernando contributed for 2 years to the political newspaper “Aqui” which was published during the period of the revolution. The Club de Jornalistas’ in Lapa, which now has 700 members, has a strong connection to the bar.

Anos 60-Fernando-Casanova-Lisbon-Mouraria

Fernando Casanova , owner of bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

The clock in ‘ANOS 60’ stands still at 04:10. Stories go round that this was the time that the Carnation Revolution started… But according to Fernando, it has another reason. It has to do with the official closing time: 04:00. In the weekends the bar usually closes later. After dancing the night away you walk out onto the street at 07:00, but the clock still indicates 04:10!

Anos 60-Lisbon-Mouraria-clock

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

Street parties in June

In the month of June, festivities take place all over Portugal to celebrate three popular Saints – Santo António, São João and São Pedro.

The traditional neighborhoods Mouraria and Alfama are decorated in many colours and all the people are dancing in the streets and having barbeques, grilling sardinhas (sardines).

Lisbon Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 Largo bar Anos 60 2

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon in June: dinner outside

Bar ANOS 60 (closed in 2016)
Largo do Terreirinho 21, 1170 Lisbon.

More about  area Mouraria Lisbon (2020)

Brief introduction to 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.

Journalists

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.

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