My friends asked me several times which bairro of Lisbon is my favourite. And I had quite a dilemma to choose… The title of this post ‘From Chiado to Bairro Alto’ is nothing more than taken from a popular fado song, but actually it links a story about two bordering neighbourhoods of Lisbon which I happen to like a lot!
Chiado, nowadays ‘a posh face’ of Lisbon, with plenty of designers stores, elegant cafes and, all-time present Fernando Pessoa. He is actually sitting 24/7 in the famous ‘A Brasileira’ café. It is worth visiting yet I have to make a remark that wherever in Portugal, coffee is just exceptionally good and cheap. Be aware though when using the original Portuguese nomenclature for asking a waiter for the great variety of coffees. A simple espresso will be called here bica and not bico (please look it up in http://www.urbandictionary.com, for the sake of not getting Portuguese spam I will remain silent about the meaning and usage of this word).
Meanwhile Bairro Alto is a Mecca for the party people, (Erasmus) students and/or those who enjoy the busy atmosphere of barzinhos. There is pretty much every musical style to be met in this tiny but crowded place, from indie rock through Brazilian live music to Berliner minimal tech. Not much recommended for those who actually like to sleep during the night, but for those who like bohemian wandering around 4 am it will probably be a perfect destination.
Bairro – neighbourhood
Barzinho – little bar (same word in Portuguese)