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  • The little black book for the City
    Travel — 10 June 2013

    Setting the Bairro High:
    Lisbon

    Jane Fulcher experiences Lisbon’s most fashionable (and fun) district, Bairro Alto...

    Lisbon is one of Europe’s most happening gourmet and cultural hotspots. In just a short hop from London you can be wandering its atmospheric winding streets, then relaxing on a sunlit terrace with a glass of vinho verde, taking in spectacular views over the Rio Tejo.

    The liveliest area in Lisbon is the Bairro Alto – its cobbled streets are packed with bars and restaurants boasting live music and some of the city’s finest dining, all being enjoyed by an all-night up-for-it crowd.

    The best place to stay is the Bairro Alto Hotel, on Praça Luis de Camões, particularly convenient for exploring its namesake neighbourhood, as well as the chic Chiado district nearby.

    The hotel is luxurious in every way, with a unique and beautifully designed interior. A particular highlight is the roof terrace, with its stunning views over the city and a range of delicious cocktails. Catch the hotel’s gold-lined lift up for an aperitivo one evening and watch the lights twinkling over the water below.

    Downstairs there’s the lively DJ bar, Café-Bar at BA, and the Florres do Bairro restaurant serves delicious Portuguese specialities. The Bairro Alto Hotel combines the best of all that is fashionable and edgy about the city, but doesn’t scrimp on superlative traditional services such as the concierge. All in all, you will question whether you need to leave the hotel at all – by the way, the rooms boast sumptuous beds, too.

    ‘The liveliest area in Lisbon is the Bairro Alto – its cobbled streets are packed with bars and restaurants boasting live music and some of the city’s finest dining, all being enjoyed by an all-night up-for-it crowd.’

    If you do choose to leave the Bairro Alto Hotel then try the small-but-perfectly-formed Restaurante 100 Maneiras, on Rua do Teixeira, for dinner. Its molecular cuisine is a delight and the innovative tasting menu is served in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

    Or head to the oldest restaurant in Lisbon, Tavares Rico, on Rua da Misericórdia, opened in 1784 and still serving local favourites almost 230 years on. There’s also Lisbon’s gourmet stalwart, Olivier Avenida, in Hotel Tivoli Jardim, on Rua Julio Cesar Machado, for elegant contemporary Portuguese/European fare and an excellent wine list.

    There’s no need to recommend a place to drink in Bairro Alto as there are few better pleasures in life than wandering from bar to bar with a small glass of the local cherry liqueur, ginja, while listening to notes of jazz, fado and blues drift through the streets.

    A room for two at Bairro Alto Hotel ranges from around €194 per night for a superior room, to €430 for a suite. Bairro Alto Hotel, Praça Luis de Camões, 1200-242 Lisbon.

    Bairroalto.com