Nightlife in Porto caters for every age and taste. Whether you are in search of sophistication, soulfulness or out and about hedonism, you won’t be disappointed. There are two main areas for nightlife in Porto – the historic Ribeira district and the Cais de Gaia, on the opposite banks of the Douro.
There is also a collection of nightspots around the Rua Galeria de Paris and Rua Candido dos Reis in the downtown district.
Whether your stay in Porto lasts for a single day, a week or more, it is worth getting out and about to each of the main areas for nightlife in Porto in order to sample a taste of everything this cosmopolitan city has to offer. Porto may be an important city but it is not huge, meaning that many areas can be reached easily on foot from your accommodation, or at the most with a short hop on a bus or a taxi.
Start your evening in the Ribeira district, right in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, which covers much of historic Porto. This network of winding alleyways and narrow streets is a fascinating area to explore both by day and by night, when it comes alive with music and the sound of animated conversation. The Ribeira winds its way from central Porto down into the Praca da Ribeira, where pretty boats bob up and down on the floodlit waters against a backdrop of pastel-hued ancient houses.
The square and the surrounding area are bursting at the seams with lively restaurants, cafés, and bars frequented by locals, business people visiting from other areas of Portugal and an international contingent of travellers from all over the world. The mood is upbeat and inclusive, and the area is ideal for those who want to wander from bar to bar, making friends, people watching and sampling a few glasses of port wine or local beer.
Directly over the water from the Ribeira is the Cais de Gaia. Situated on the southern bank of the river Douro, this is the area in which the traditional Port wine cellars are located. It offers a more relaxed vibe than the Ribeira and the views over the water to the twinkling Porto skyline are not to be missed.
The perfect end to a day’s sightseeing in the historic centre is to wander down to the Ribeira, cross the water via the Dom Luis footbridge, take a visit to one of the Port wine cellars for a tour and a tasting, and retire to one of the Cais de Gaia’s restaurants or bars for a relaxed meal with wine against the backdrop of central Porto.
There is a wide range of nightspots to choose from in Porto, and we have brought together a list of just some of our recommendations. Remember: people eat late in Portugal and party even later, so many popular bars in Porto don’t get going until nine or 10pm, with clubs throwing their doors open as late as midnight and remaining in full swing through the early hours until dawn.
The cool crowd will love Breyner 85, a traditional townhouse that has been extensively renovated and transformed into one of the hippest music bars in Porto. Breyner 85 is located on Rua do Breyner and is well worth a visit for its eclectic music tastes, from jazz to rock via just about everything in between. Live music recitals are a regular fixture, as the bar plays host to performers from all over the country.
Try the Casa do Livro for a relaxed drink and conversation with friends in a sophisticated but welcoming environment. Casa do Livro is situated in a former bookstore and is decorated in baroque style with row upon row of attractive shelves packed full of books. The overall effect is one of a library in a stately home or manor house, making it the perfect spot to sip a glass of wine as you chat with your friends to a background of easy jazz.
Over on the Cais de Gaia, Dick’s Bar, in the popular Yeatman Hotel, is the place to be for a sophisticated evening drink in the ambience of a private club. Dick Yeatman is one of the city’s greatest Port wine producers, and Dick’s Bar is the perfect place to sample a glass or two of the best.
There are many bars in Porto to choose from, but if it’s views of the city you are after, look no further than the Zenith Lounge. Located on the 15th floor of the HF Ipanema Park Hotel, the Zenith lounge offers some of the most expansive, panoramic views of anywhere in the city.
Finish your evening by dancing the night away at Industria, on Avenida do Brasil. This is Porto’s number-one nightspot, with capacity for over 1000, and often plays host to some of the world’s leading DJs. Be prepared for a long night, however, because the doors at Industria don’t even open until 2am!