When in Lisbon, live fado music is compulsory. Here are ten of the best places to enjoy these delightfully melancholic tunes.
As the cradle of fado music, Lisbon is the best place to listen to this mournful Portuguese music characterized by lyrics that express the sadness, frustration, and melancholy. In 2011, Fado made UNESCO’s list for World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The fado houses of Lisbon are open every night, and many include dinner. Among the wide range of venues, we have selected ten of the best to help you narrow down your choices, concentrated in the neighborhoods of Alfama (where fado was born), Barrio Alto, Lapa, and Alcántara.
1. Tasca do chico
Tasco do chico is a traditional bar in Barrio Alto that hosts a fado vadío show every Monday and Wednesday around 9pm. It’s a real fado institution in Lisbon, which stands out for showcasing new talents. Admission is free, but you have to pay for a compulsory drink. Being a very crowded place, it is better to arrive early to take place. Tasca do chico serves delicious sausages, which you can accompany with a glass of red wine while you enjoy the music. Note: There is a second bar with the same name in the Alfama neighbourhood, so make sure you’re visiting the correct one.
R. Do Diário de Notícias, 39
Monday to Sunday: 7pm to 2am
2. Tasca do Jaime
Tasca do Jaime is a small and cozy tavern with a family atmosphere. Every afternoon, at around 4.30 pm, several fado artists start performing–and often end up singing alongside the owners. You don’t have to purchase a ticket or make a reservation, you only have to drink. The place is small so it’s best to arrive early.
Rua da Graça, 91
Tuesday to Sunday: 9am to 8pm
3. Adega Machado
Founded in 1937 by the fado Maria de Lourdes Machado and her husband, the place was restored in 2012. The traditional fado shows take place in the tavern where patrons can enjoy tapas and wine. In addition, the music hall is flanked by a lovely terrace.
Rua do Norte, 91
Monday to Sunday: 7.30pm to 2am
4. O Faia
O Faia, founded in 1947, hosts fado shows every night, where great artists of this genre sing. Its founder, the well-known Lucilia do Carmo, and her son, Carlos do Carmo, performed in this place, as well as other well-known fado artists such as Fernando Mauricio, Ada de Castro or Camané. Today Lenita Gentil, Ricardo Ribeiro, Anita Guerreiro, and António Rocha perform accompanied on Portuguese guitar by Fernando Silva and Paulo Ramos, who has taken over to brighten up the nights in this beautiful Barrio Alto restaurant. Dinner with the fado show costs 55 euros.
Rua de Barroca, 54-56
Monday to Saturday: 8pm to 2am
5. Fado Club
One of the most exclusive places to listen to fado, Clube de Fado is located in Alfama. This is one of the best fado restaurants, where patrons can enjoy a quality experience both in terms of gastronomy and music via a refined atmosphere, excellent Portuguese cuisine, and professional fadistas.
Rua São João da Praça, 94
Monday to Sunday: 8pm to 2am
6. Corner of Alfama
Another typical fado restaurant is Esquina de Alfama, located in the neighborhood of the same name. With a family atmosphere and 50 years of experience in restoration, the restaurant, which was inaugurated by the great fado Artur Batalha, offers an authentic experience.
Address: Rua Sao Pedro, 4
Hours: Wednesday to Monday from 20 h to 0 h
7. Parreirinha of Alfama
Alfama’s small and intimate Parreirinha is run by the famous fado Argentina Santos. The most international fado voices, such as Amália Rodrigues, Berta Cardoso, Tristao da Silva, and Maria de Fé, among others, have passed through here. Today, they still maintain the Fado and culinary traditions, as everything here is authentic: from the artists to the traditional food and the decoration of the restaurant’s walls with tiles.0
Beco do Espirito Santo, 1
Tuesday to Sunday: 8pm to 2am
8. A Severe
A Severa has been open since 1955, which makes this restaurant a classic of Lisbon fado. Although the entrance is not one of the cheapest (the minimum consumption per person is 30 euros), it is worth going to listen to fado at this local Barrio Alto, which until today is run by the same family and stands out for the quality of its service. Fado shows take place by candlelight in a charming tiled backdrop.
Rua das Gáveas, 51/61
Thursday to Tuesday: 8pm to 2am