Although Lisbon has always been a gay-friendly destination with a vivid gay nightlife, it flew under-the-radar for quite many years, not managing to make it to the top "must visit" gay destinations. 2018, however, was a game-changing year for Lisbon, as it hosted the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time, so its queer-friendly attitude was clear to the worldwide gay community.
Since then, Lisbon has been developed as a gay destination, and it's now actually more popular than ever. The gay nightlife has been expanded, and many of the gay bars and clubs now organize frequent events and parties. All that combined with the city's exquisite architecture and abundance of activities to do, have made it a perfect getaway for all types of gay travellers, from gay families, to couples and solo backpackers.
However, as we know that there is not a better way to discover Lisbon rather with the help of a local, we decided to make a research on where do gay locals hang out during day and night, and present them to you.
This article was created in collaboration with "Proudly Portugal", a project wants to show you the limitless sceneries the country has to offer as a leading LGBTI destination, with meaningful and memorable experiences."
If you are a couple...
Traveling with your partner means that you have to keep a balance on the gay places that you are going to visit (unless you are searching for something else). This is why, we are not going to focus on the gay bars and clubs of Lisbon (if you are interested in that, you can check out the section “if you are traveling solo or with friends).
But, in this section, we will explore cool gay-friendly spots to enjoy coffee and brunch during the day. Quirky bistros to visit for a cocktail or a light lunch during the evening, and laid-back, gay bars for late night out. First things first, let's find the best spots to enjoy a full morning meal.
Don't call us biased, but one of the best places to enjoy brunch — and breakfast, is by far "The Late Bird's Lisbon". This delicious brunch is served every Sunday by the mail pool, and it includes a diversity of mouthwatering delicacies, including healthy options for the fans of fitness. Also, it's currently the only gay brunch in the town! Other great, gay-popular spots to enjoy brunch are Heim Cafe, where you can enjoy their delicious breakfast assortment, berry-topped pancakes, and waffles drizzled in homemade caramel. And, lastly, Zenith is another excellent option where, according to the locals, you can try one of the best croissants in the world, delicious pancakes and a cool atmosphere. PS: All there dishes are totally Instagrammable.
So, if you are searching for gay cafe in Lisbon, you won't find any, however, the most popular cafes in town attract mixed crowds, with a 50% ratio of gay and straight people. Cafe Boavida is a great place to take a coffee-break from your Lisbon sightseeing or shopping tour. The cafe also serves delicious snacks, which are made from scratch, in house. The granola bowls are particularly good. Le Petit Prince Culture Cafe is another excellent spot that was inspired by the homonymous book of Antoine de Saint-Exupery. In this place, they bring you papers and pencils to sketch your thoughts while waiting for your latte!
For a cozy night out, you can either opt for Margem Sul Bar, which is both a lounge and a cabaret stage that hosts frequent drag shows. Chains Bar is another excellent gay bar with a relaxed atmosphere that makes it a perfect start for a night-out. And, Navegadoors is a trendy cocktail bar and restaurant, perfect for dinners.
If you are traveling solo or with friends...
We know that all you wanna do (most of the times) when you are traveling solo or with friends is to have fun, explore the destination, and make new interesting contacts. This is why on this section, we are going to focus on the popular gay bars, clubs, and some naughtier places for a little more fun.
So, if you are visiting in summer, you will most probably spend your day at Lisbon's awesome gay beaches. For singles and solo travellers, we recommend Beach 19, Lisbon's popular gay nude beach, located at the south end of Costa de Caparica. It's a great place to make new and interesting contacts.
Lisbon is more of a "bear" city, and most of its popular gay bars and clubs attract bears and their admirers. Tr3s Lisboa, for example, is one of the top 3 gay bars of Lisbon, and it's open to all bears and their admirers. There are also frequent events and special nights, so don't miss to check their website before visiting. Bar 106 is another must-visit, as it's one of the longest-operating gay bars, operating since 1995. Friendly staff, handsome men, fun events, and impromptu games await you at this awesome bar. Pride Burlesque is last but definitely not least. Don't miss out their gorgeous Caipirinha and "Pastel de Nata" shot.
So, the previous bars are excellent to begin your night out, as they usually close down at 2-3 am. However, you can continue your night-out in one of the gay clubs. TRUMPS is the most popular gay club in Lisbon, that usually gets crowded after 2 am. POSH Club is another gorgeous club with frequent themed nights and fun parties. Construction Club is perfect for bears, hairy and beefy men, featuring 3 floors, two for dancing and one that works cruising space.
If you want to play a bit harder, you will be surprised from Lisbon's diversity of Gay Cruise Clubs and Saunas. Drako Club, Bar Cru and Woof X are the three exclusively cruise and fetish clubs of Lisbon, featuring dark rooms, relaxing cabins, 'big bed' areas, and frequent fetish nights. From the gay saunas, Olissipo Bath and SaunApolo 56 are the ones operating now, while there is a semi-monthly meeting of men called "Queer Lust" at Mise en Scene.
If you are a family...
Lisbon is gay-friendly and with plenty of family-friendly activities. So, that makes it the perfect getaway for gay families! In this section, we will focus on the fun things that you can do in Lisbon with your kids, places and unique experiences to enjoy together, cafes to hang out during the day, and special spots that children love. (for adults-only activities, you can check out the above sections).
The first place to start your Lisbon exploration with your kids is the Lisbon zoo, which works as a magnet for young and curious minds. There, you can see white tigers, gorillas, dolphins, lions, and a diversity of bird species. Don't miss out the special children's farm where kids can meet and cuddle small and cute animals. The gigantic Oceanario de Lisboa is another hit among families, as it's wonderful diversity of aquatic species (more than 8000 types) is awe-inspiring to watch. Just drop an e-mail beforehand to check about the weekend programmes for children. Lastly, Jamor Adventure Park is a little outside of the city, but your kids will absolute adore it. It's 15 minutes west of the city, and it's packed with family-friendly activities. If you are visiting in Summer, keep in mind that Costa da Caparica is a great gay-friendly beach where you can relax during the day, while you kids are playing at the beach. Unlike Beach 19, Lisbon's gay nudist beach, this beach is more family friendly, with less nudity and more families.
Now, if you want to give to your trip a more educational touch, then you would be happy to know that Lisbon is home to many museums and wonderful sights to see. You can spend a day or two museum-haunting, through which, don't miss out the National Azulejo Museum, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, MUDE (Museu do Design e da Moda), and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT). In your sightseeing tour, don't miss out Castelo de Sao Jorge, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Oceanario de Lisboa, Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, and Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga.
So, these are the best places to visit during your trip to Lisbon. Just don’t forget, before scheduling your trip in Lisbon, check out this amazing gay urban guesthouse, The Late Bird’s Lisbon, which is highly recommended due to its central location, excellent hospitality, and hotel amenities and facilities rivaling a 5 star hotel.