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Drinking and nightlife

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Lisbon’s nightlife is legendary, though don’t expect to see any action much before midnight. There are some great bars where you can get a drink at any time of the day, but clubs – which may not open much before 11pm – generally operate on a “minimum consumption” policy: you buy a ticket at the door which you can get stamped each time you buy a drink at the bar. Designed to stop people dancing all night without buying a drink, which many Portuguese would happily do, the price varies hugely: perhaps €10 if it’s a quiet night, more likely around €20–30; keep hold of your ticket to prove you have “consumed” enough (otherwise you pay on exit). The traditional centre of Lisbon’s nightlife is the Bairro Alto, an intriguing blend of student bars, designer clubs, fado houses and restaurants. The slightly seedy Cais do Sodré district can best be described as up and coming, while neighbouring Santos is rapidly gaining a trendy reputation, with some established names. Bars and clubs in Alcântara and the docks tend to attract a slightly older, wealthier crowd to those in the centre.

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