First things first: The name ‘Portugal’ derived from two old cities along the Douro River – one being Porto; the other… no idea. Porto is so old that it’s classified as a world heritage site – picture stone promenades, gothic churches, sprawling monuments, medieval streets, and of course the famous Porto wine.
It may be an old, hilly city, but it’s rockin’ a brand-new look. Stylish cafes and hip bars stand firmly amongst tradition, drawing locals and tourists alike to sit, sip and savor.
Check our top drinking destinations in Porto, and don’t even think about comparing the city to Lisbon – locals will be offended if Porto is referred to as Portugal’s second city.
Mini Bar Porto – Baixa
Chef and restaurateur José Avillez surprises us once again – this time in Porto. Last July, Mini Bar moved into Porto’s center with original gastronomic creations. Served in “mini doses,” the emblematic drinks and dishes range from the “Elderini” topped with an explosive olive to white veal chartreuse and foie gras outfitted in Mini Bar-style tripe and truffle. The lux, two-level space boasts red velvet walls punctuated with neon and light electronic tunes, all for an unforgettable sensory experience.
Rua da Picaria 12, 4050-477, +351 22 112 9729, www.minibar.pt, @mini_bar_joseavillez
The Royal Cocktail Club – Baixa
Glide through the grand entrance (of a bankers’ union building) into this elegant speakeasy-like space complete with bronze details, leather seating and marble bar. The cocktail “craftspeople” build countless classic and signature drinks like the Golden Flip, a frothly blend of Johnnie Walker Gold Label whisky, Tawny Port Reserve, egg and tonka bean; served to perfection. Allocate time for the bar team as they to take true pride in their work and presentation.
The cocktail is king here.
Rua da Fábrica 105, 4050-247, +351 222 0591 223, @theroyalcocktailclub
RIB Beef & Wine – Ribeira
This hotspot was named #1 Hotel Bar in Portugal – for the second year in a row. Situated in the vivid Pestana Vintage Porto hotel along the Ribeira, RIB Beef & Wine lures in tourists and locals alike with its mod-décor, meaty dishes and moving drinks which are placing Portugal on the cocktail heat-map.
Crafted by head mix-master, Tiago Moreira, the Around the World cocktail menu offers thirteen cocktails “inspired by” thirteen countries. “Experience” the African Vibe, crafted with Beefeater 24, Chartreuse for balance, Chermoula and blend of spices such pepper, cardamom and curry; presented on a wood slab with a cotton candy canopy.
Praça Ribeira 1, 4050-513, +351 966 273 822, www.rib.pt, @rib_restaurant_porto
Base – Clérigos
Come for a Super Bock; stay for another… Arguably the best Portuguese beer in the world.
Base is an outdoor situation perfect for large group hangs. It sits inside a garden atop a strip of stores adjacent to Clèrigos Tower in Porto’s historical downtown. Can you picture it? …all good – check and chill when you can.
Passeio dos Clerigos, Rua das Carmelitas 151, 4050-163, +351 910 076 920, www.baseporto.com, @baseporto
The Gin House – Galerias
Considering it’s called The Gin House, expect… gin. This sleek space boasts a mirrored bar stocked with over 160 different types of gin and countless tonics and mixers for many Gin & Tonics combinations.
Delicious flavor combinations of orange, cinnamon, grape, flower petals and citrus combine to make just some of the delicious drinks available, all of which are served in balloon-shaped chalices and some even topped with liquid nitrogen for a smoky and sublime effect. If you don’t drink gin, don’t come in.
Rua Cândido dos Reis 70, 4050-151, +351 22 203 3062, @theginhouse
Plano B – Galerias
It is no surprise that one of Porto’s most innovative clubs is located in a former textile factory. With rustic/retro décor, the space is divided between two floors: Upstairs, there is a bar area complete with coffee (by day) and comfortable couches to chill, chat and check out the current art displays.
Downstairs, there are two dance floors offering an eclectic program of artistic expressions and musical performances of various genres – from reggae to electro – played by popular Portuguese and international DJs. Fill up on mojitos as a the dance floor begins to fill and the night progresses (‘til 6AM)
Rua Cândido dos Reis 30, +351 22 201 2500, www.planobporto.net, @planobporto
Ramos Pinto – Vila Nova de Gaia
Cross the Douro River into Vila Nova de Gaia. Pop in one of many cellars like Ramos Pinto to sample the city’s drink namesake, Porto; the Portuguese fortified wine that is both sweet and strong. Take a tour of the historic wine cellar where the divine wines undergo a long ageing process. Rest your feet with a glass of Ruby Port wine in hand after.
Av. de Ramos Pinto 380, 4400-266, +351 22 370 7000, www.ramospinto.pt, @ramospinto_port_douro_wine
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