Whether you want to sip artful creations in speakeasy dens, retreat under blankets to watch the sunset with a cockle-warming concoction or enjoy drinks alongside furry canine friends, Lisbon has you covered. Yes, winter here is mild, but things do still get chilly after dark, so read on for our pick of where to head to stay hot when the weather turns.
A snug space with an unpretentious attitude, Imprensa warmly embraces cocktail-lovers of all stripes. There’s superior snacking, too, as Imprensa is also an oyster bar; the blend of low-lit interior, slick tunes and super-fresh seafood would be reason enough to visit, even without those superstar drinks. The success of the original branch on Rua de Imprensa Nacional (the name translates as ‘National Press Street’) in lively Príncipe Real led to the 2022 opening of a fresh-faced sibling bar downtown, where you can indulge your inner typography geek with signature cocktails named after different fonts.
Proudly occupying a former bordello on downtown’s famous Pink Street, Pensão Amor makes no secret of the fact that Lisbon’s buzziest nightlife strip was once a red-light district. Thankfully, at this alluring cocktail bar the seediness is long gone, but a playful sauciness remains. When a winter chill bites, duck through the doorway and sink into a plush chair to enjoy a classic Manhattan, old fashioned or Moscow mule.
DJ Isac Ace, a regular behind the decks at Lisbon’s bars and clubs, says colder weather doesn’t dampen the city’s party spirit: “November and December are always busy for nightlife. January is quieter, so that’s a good month for cocktail bars without the crowds, but by February, the weather is warming up and it’s party season again.”
A regular on the prestigious World’s 50 Best Bars list, award-strewn Red Frog made its name as a subterranean speakeasy, before making the short hop to its current home inside tropical-themed sister bar Monkey Mash. Reservations are essential, so plan ahead if you want to sample the ever-evolving, always-surprising list of house creations. And bring your indoor voice: this secluded drinking den is all about hushed tones and clandestine delights.
Slipping away from busy city streets and into Rocco Gastrobar feels like entering a glamorous alternative universe, where cocktail-sipping is considered an elegant occupation at any hour. Negroni-lovers are spoiled for choice, with the cacao version proving a standout from the extensive list. Just make sure you also take some time to appreciate the fever dream fabulousness of the highly Instagrammable bathroom.
The in-demand drinks terrace at Bairro Alto Hotel has a ‘no reservations’ policy, so, cocktail-hunters might want to take advantage of a cold snap or seasonal lull to enjoy the bar’s stellar signature cocktails, note-perfect mezcal Negronis and sweeping views across the River Tagus. Bar heavy rain, the terrace stays open all year, with blankets and heaters keeping things cosy long after the sun dips over the river.
BAHR mixologist Tiago Santos says Lisbon’s autumn and winter cocktail scene is all about “beautiful sunsets, warm flavours and cosy bars.” He recommends switching summer sangria and spritzes for “darker spirits such as aged rums, whisky and cognac, with more robust flavours and more intensity.”
Ring the bell for entry to an Art Nouveau bar that feels uncannily like a traditional English pub given a retro-chic makeover – with the added appeal of super-courteous staff bringing drinks and snacks to your table. The leafy back terrace is wonderful on summer evenings, but on cooler nights it’s fun to hunker down in the booths or shoot a game of pool in the back room, accompanied by a perfectly mixed dark ’n’ stormy.
Nexo ½ Bar
All rainbow-bright murals and vibrantly hued drinks, this tiny space in Campo de Ourique (a current foodie hotspot located a little off the tourist trail) will brighten your day, even on those rare occasions when it rains in Lisbon. The mixologists have fun creating new and unusual drinks, many involving ingredients that’ll get foodies’ pulses racing, such as pickles, scorched citrus fruit and even goat's cheese. This is one place where alcohol-free and low-ABV cocktails share equal billing with their boozy counterparts. Oh, and pets are welcome, so prepare to make some new furry friends.