If you’re not exploring the spirited nightlife of Porto, then you’re only experiencing half of what this great city has to offer. Porto truly comes alive at night and it promises to indulge all different kinds of people. From wine bistros, craft beer shops and cocktail bars, all the way to trendy nightclubs and retro hideways, there is a place for each and every visitor.
This is my ultimate lineup of the best bars and clubs in Porto that will ensure you’ll have the best time!
We’ll start the list with five locals’ favorite, before moving on to the five best clubs in Porto. We’ll end the list with five of the best bars and clubs in the prominent Galerias de Paris area, the undeniable nightlife hub of the city.
1. Café Piolho
The Café Âncora d’Ouro (most commonly known as “O Piolho“, or “louse” in English) is regarded as the meeting place for Porto’s university students. It opened in 1909, making it one of the oldest cafes in the city. Despite its humble size, Piolho is often crowded, especially at night.
Many believe the unique nickname of the cafe derives from the mix of crowds that met there (much like how lice arrive in packs to one’s head), This is thanks to its location near the science universities, making it a popular study spot. Pay special attention to the walls and you’ll find decades-old plaques gifted by students to the café – especially Med students.
Nowadays, it’s a good place to eat a francesinha and grab a nice pint when cementing the stomach for a drinking night. It’s also a great place to have a coffee and spend a chatty evening with friends.
2. Espaço 77
Espaço 77, or just 77, holds the record of most sold minis (250ml beer bottles) in Portugal for 8 years. It’s now aiming to surpass the million sold in a year milestone. There is even a sign on the wall which reads “we break records here”.
This family-run business owes its success to university students, especially exchange students who gather here for the low-priced drinks. A mini costs only 50 cents, so expect big thirsty crowds every night. Here, you’ll also find delicious and wallet-friendly snacks for when your stomach starts to growl in the late hours of the evening.
3. Adega Leonor
You might pass it if you’re not paying attention. Adega Leonor is a small hole-in-the-wall establishment; it’s so small that customers usually consume drinks in the garden. While seating availability isn’t their forte, their prices are.
Adega Leonor is a popular spot for Erasmus (exchange) students who are eligible for special discounts. Foreign students love this place so much that many leave their student IDs here before returning to their home country. The owners have an entire wall covered with student and transport cards, donated by their clients!
If you’re someone who prefers an outdoor setting to enjoy a drink whilst feeling a cool breeze, then BASE is just the place for you. Located in the Clérigos urban garden, right next to Porto’s tallest landmark (Clérigos Tower), BASE stands out for its ambiance and quality of service.
BASE often promotes activities and events taking place in the afternoon and evenings. It’s the optimal spot for relaxing as the sun sets, or pre-gaming before heading to a more crowded pub or club in Porto.
5. Tapas Bar 24
I’m gonna let you in on my best-kept secret: Tapas Bar 24. It’s a modest pub, stationed in a narrow street right at the back of the busy Piolho square. For years, it has been my mandatory stop before heading out to the club. Many partygoers even call it a night here because there’s no way the night could get better anywhere else.
But what makes it so endearing to myself and the ones who also visit regularly? Well, there are two key ingredients that sum it up: first, the owner provides a laptop with internet access so everyone can easily pick any song they’d like to listen to – a modern jukebox of sorts; second, the hydromel shots, a homemade concoction that may go down sweetly and smoothly but will surely get you beyond buzzed.
If you visit before the peak hours, I’d advise you to taste some of Helder’s (the owner) fantastic tapas. Later on, when the modest bar becomes full with hydromel-craving folks, it becomes nearly impossible to get a bite.
Where once people lined around the block to get tickets to see a movie at Olympia Cinema, decades later you may still see people queuing outside this emblematic building, now to get into Boîte.
It’s aptly named after the French word for “box”, which reflects their elementary motto: get in the box to step out of it. I actually had the chance to be there when it first opened and visited quite a few times after that, so I can guarantee that the standard and passion for what they do never disappoints.
Boîte is considered one of the trendiest clubs in Porto. Here, you can enjoy the latest as well as classics of Hip Hop, RnB and Funk mixed in what will surely make for an unforgettable night.
There was once a time when it was impossible to even think about spending my Friday night any place other than Boulevard. I was such a frequent visitor that at some point I even started working for them! I haven’t visited much since the place was renovated in 2019, but I’ve heard that this is still the place where youngsters make the best memories and the silliest of mistakes.
Located right in the heart of the city, along Aliados Avenue, Boulevard is a hub for dancers and partiers of all ages. It has dedicated events on different nights, each attracting its own personalized sound and frequent clientele.
Eskada is an undeniable giant of the club scene in Porto. This is where my cousin first took me after I became an adult, and it’s where our uncles partied before us! Now, the club only opened in 2013 which, in retrospect, isn’t that long ago. But it prides itself on welcoming people of all ages, six out of seven nights a week.
This club in Porto is made out of connected smaller rooms, which with its own theme and purpose. It has a huge dancing floor and an outside area, usually only open during the summer to broaden the establishment’s capacity and allow people a much-needed breath of fresh air. It’s also known for being the stomping grounds of some domestic celebrities and the place where pretty girls gather on Saturday nights.
Make sure to show up early to avoid the long lines that tend to snake at around 1am, or instead show up a couple of hours later (but by then space might have reached full capacity – as it often does). Also, pay special attention to your outfit; it’s not unusual to get barred from entry when sporting sporty or casual attire.
9. Kasa da Praia
Doubling as a restaurant during the day, Kasa da Praia (literally meaning “beach house”) becomes a prominent nightclub at night. As the name may foreshadow, this establishment is actually built on the Castelo do Queijo beach, away from the commotion of Porto’s downtown. Fun fact: It was once was an electrical substation.
I dare say it has the biggest VIP area of all clubs in Porto, as the whole second level of the building is reserved for high-rollers, B-list celebrities, and club promoters. In my totally non-biased opinion as a former promoter, the sound mixes are quite similar to its competitors but I think Kasa da Praia stands out by having Hip Hop dedicated nights every week. Here, it isn’t unusual to bring in big names in the Portuguese music scene as guest performers.
10. Via Rápida
With over 20 years of history, Via Rápida is a warehouse turned nightclub in the industrial district of Porto. It welcomes people of all ages and often does themed nights, like retro-inspired or culturally themed. Its only downside is that it’s only open to the public on (some) Saturdays.
How can a business prosper if it’s closed to the general public on most days? Well, Via Rápida is historically known for being the preferred venue for university parties. Much like a sorority/fraternity, the students of each university organize the events, welcoming the partiers and tending the bars themselves (with a little help from hired security). On reception weeks, festivities may extend to three or four nights in a row!
One of Galerias de Paris’ most popular spaces is Rendez-vous. It’s somewhere between a bar and a club, as there isn’t much space to dance around. What makes this place so special is that it actually plays rock music every night! Here, you’ll be able to rock out to old classics and newer ones too, all subgenres from electro-rock to indie, garage, and alternative music.
On rare occasions, they’ll open an exception upon request and play some more commercial stuff, but they mostly stay true to their nature. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the house hymn and it’s an unspoken rule to sing it as loud as your lungs allow once it comes on.
Not too far is Industria, one of the oldest clubs in Porto, open since 1986 and recently renovated. This is where locals and tourists come together in Porto to enjoy the best that electronic music has to offer.
You’ll feel welcome the moment you step in and you’ll be greeted with a warm smile each time you pay the bar a visit. But if you’re looking for a more mainstream sound, this may not be the place for you. Also, don’t show up early as the party only really starts to “heat up” after 3am.
13. Porto Tónico
Established in 2012, Porto Tónico is known for its wide range of traditional and house cocktails, and the best selection of liquors so that you may design a drink yourself.
This club in Porto prides itself on its ambiance and friendly service, providing a fun nocturnal environment without breaking the bank. It also has a nice outdoor seating area, perfect for warm summer nights.
14. RUA Tapas & Music Bar
It’s all in the name, isn’t it? RUA literally means street, and its name reflects the liveliness of the space when it’s filled with sounds, scents and people. The people behind RUA brings the street inside, and the gastronomy, music, and dance along with it.
RUA is known for its exquisite dishes and equally delicious live music. It isn’t a place you just casually drop by, as most visitors make a point to return and relive the experience as many times as they can.
What sets their kitchen and bar apart is the use of locally grown, high-quality ingredients. The chefs tend to introduce twists into their original recipes by utilizing whatever products are in season. Unlike most tapas bars in Porto, they offer a decent variety of vegetarian and vegan meals too.
15. Plano B
Undoubtedly the holy grail of Galerias de Paris, Plano B is a multi-level cultural space with an appreciation for the visual and performative arts. Located in Porto’s downtown area, it’s decorated with retro-inspired elements, reminiscent of the boho-chic trend.
Plano B is a multipurpose space that hosts concerts and clubnights, playing everything from jazz to rock, electronic and experimental music. On Saturdays, it opens up in the afternoon with a refined selection of quality domestic products such as wines, cheeses, jams, teas and other delicacies. Plano B is also responsible for organizing Mercadinho dos Clérigos, a monthly street market that has been going on since 2007.
Plano B usually stays open until dawn, and sometimes even beyond that. Therefore, it’s a good place to visit later at night, after a nice long pub crawl or when other bars and clubs in Porto start to shut down.
Also Read: What Is Portugal Famous For?
Porto nightlife areas
The Galerias de Paris Street is one of the main hubs of nightlife in Porto. Locals use this name to describe not only the street itself but the surrounding ones which are full of bars and clubs. Crowds of both locals and tourists gather here, especially on weekend nights to grab a drink and hang outside, continuously moving from one pub to another. Besides the last clubs and bars on the list, some interesting places to visit here are La Bohème, Café au Lait, Alma, The Gin House, and Era Uma Vez em Paris.
Not too far is Aliados, downtown’s main square and a busy place at night. From the aforementioned Boulevard Cub, you are a few minutes walk to Maus Hábitos, a space for cultural intervention (simultaneously a gallery, restaurant, club, and studio), Zoom, an LGBT friendly club known for drag performances, and Passos Manuel, and old cinema turned showroom.
Honorable mention goes to the Ribeira district, where you can enjoy a nice drink while overlooking the Douro river and enjoying some live music or busking performances.
Tips for enjoying the Porto nightlife
- Enjoy St. John’s Festival: If you happen to be in town on June 23rd, make the most out of this special night in which no one sleeps (not even grandma). It’s the longest night in Porto, bigger than New Year’s, a party that mixes sacred and profane traditions but is essentially just an excuse to get wasted.
- Dress appropriately: If you’re in the mood for clubbing, don’t forget to dress for it. It’s not uncommon for people to be barred entry based on their attire. Think business casual meets EDM festival – a strange pairing, I realize, but it works.
- Go to a sports bar: There are quite a few good sports bars around Porto in which you can watch soccer matches and even some NBA and NFL if no major European soccer teams are playing.
- Take the night bus: Unfortunately, the metro doesn’t ride all night long and taxi fares hike up during the darkest hours. However, there are plenty of nocturnal buses that connect downtown to all surrounding districts, so you’ll never have to walk home when your legs just don’t seem to work properly anymore.
- Link up with the locals: It shouldn’t come much of a surprise that talking to the locals will help you figure out how to make the most of the night. Most Porto natives can communicate easily in English so don’t be shy and ask what’s their plan for the night, where you can grab the cheapest beer, and what venue will be playing your preferred kind of music.