Thanks to a surge in popularity as a tourist destination (that shows no sign of slowing down), Porto’s nightlife continues to thrive and visitors to this vibrant Portuguese hotspot can expect an expanding list of options for enjoying the city after dark. As the city is relatively small and compact, the nightlife is largely concentrated in the ‘Downtown’ area (known locally as ‘Baixa’), making it easy to sample a few different venues in one outing. Many of Porto’s nightlife establishments can be found inside historical buildings that have been re-imagined into a mix of modern, trendy, and cosy spaces. Bars and nightclubs with high ceilings, tall windows and wooden floors are common, providing an appealing atmosphere that is majestic, yet charming.
During the weekends and especially in the warmer months, the streets are usually packed with buzzing crowds of people, either enjoying some fresh air or trying to decide on their next stop. Don’t be too disappointed if you find it rather empty at first – Porto only gets busy around midnight! From chilled-out evenings to sleepless nights, here’s my roundup of the best places to drink and dance in Porto.
For a relaxed way to start the night, Flow is a beautiful option. Housed in a converted ceramics factory, Flow offers both a restaurant and a bar, which is connected to an outdoor terrace, divided by floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The décor is impressive and uniquely exotic, with a modern and spacious feel. Have a drink here if you want to feel a bit classier.
Rua da Conceição, 63, 4050-213 Porto
One of the newer additions to the city, Base is really the only open-air bar in the city-centre so far. Built on a manmade park filled with olive trees and neatly manicured grass, there’s plenty of outdoor seating options to choose from, such as… a bathtub. A fantastic spot to enjoy the early part of your night, especially when the sun sets late in summer. Funky music, great views.
Passeio dos Clerigos, Rua das Carmelitas 151, Base – Quisque Jardim, 4050-163 Porto
Galeria de Paris
Located on the street of the same name in the heart of ‘Baixa’, Galeria De Paris is a vibrant, friendly, and fun place to get your body moving. The walls are adorned with a multitude of vintage items including toys and a variety of memorabilia from decades ago. Dinner is served by candlelight and often accompanied by music from a live band. The party starts around 11.30pm when the tables are moved out of the way to create a dance floor. It gets crowded fast and music is usually pop or 80s. Smoke-free.
Rua da Galeria de Paris, 56, Porto 4050-284
Aduela is a popular meet-up spot that’s well-loved by the locals and more recently travellers as well. It boasts a casual atmosphere and affordably priced drinks, with a generous outside seating area that is often full. Luckily, there’s plenty of standing room too. It’s a great place to start the night or to have some good conversations over a drink or two (or three).
Rua das Oliveiras, nº 36, 4050-157 Porto
Also a favourite with the locals, Candelabro is a cosy café/bar that used to be a bookstore. Along the walls inside, you can still find shelves holding books that are available to enjoy with your drink, or even purchase (just ask). On busy nights, groups of friends mingle on the square directly outside. The atmosphere is mostly laid-back, but on late weekend evenings, you can expect louder, more energetic music.
Rua da Conceição 3, 4050-215 Porto
An essential element and pillar of Porto’s nightlife, Plano B (or ‘Plan B’ in English) is split over two floors with high ceilings. The lower level is divided into two rooms, which hold DJ sets (electronic and techno are popular) and concerts of various genres. The party goes on until 6am on Friday or Saturday night and the only downside is it gets extremely smoky inside – so don’t wear any precious clothing.
Rua Cândido dos Reis 30, 4050-151 Porto
Set on the fourth floor of a parking garage, Maus Hábitos has multiple identities as a bar, restaurant, cultural space, art gallery, and a club. It also hosts gigs and concerts on a regular basis. Frequented by people who consider themselves to be hip, it’s an urban space where you can enjoy a good pizza meal, a casual drink with friends, or a full-on night out. Club nights and DJ sets can be found on Maus Hábitos’ website.
Rua Passos Manuel, 178 – 4º, Porto 4000-382
A newcomer to the scene at under a year old, Arca is a small pub that is normally low-key but has the potential to transform into an intimate dance party of sorts on weekends. Described as ‘an extension of your living room’, it offers a comfortable space to socialise and enjoy a good selection of international beers and liquors.
Rua do General Silveira 23A, 4050-588 Porto
With its original venue in nearby Foz opening over 30 years ago, the opening of its second location downtown in 2016 was reason to celebrate. As the only English pub in the city, it’s popular with both tourists and locals alike. Open till 2am every night, it’s a lively place with a diverse range of beers, whiskies, and most importantly, that ‘pub’ feel.
Praça Guilherme Gomes Fernandes 40, Porto 4050-294
About the author
Yishyene is a lifestyle and travel blogger who is currently based in Porto, a city she loves for its characteristic and colourful architecture, good wines, and proximity to the sea. Check out her blog and Instagram.
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