Bairro Alto is Lisbon's carefree Bohemian quarter, where some of the city's funkiest bars and clubs rub shoulders with an array of restaurants serving anything from traditional Portuguese fare to inventive international cuisine. Its next door neighbour, Príncipe Real, is of a more mellow personality, equally relaxed but less in your face.
All you have to do is wander through the cobblestone maze that is Bairro Alto to discover the many different eating options for hungry visitors. If its authentic Portuguese cooking you're after, check out Antigo 1 de Maio, famed for its local menu of rich, hearty fare. Pasta lovers need look no further than Casanostra, while Pap'Açorda still draws the flashy and impressionable. More down to earth is Cervejaria Trindade, located on the Bairro's fringe while up in Príncipe Real, Michelin recommends Argentine steakhouse La Paparrucha.
Bairro Alto is Lisbon~s party zone. The neigbourhood begins to stir at dusk but really only livens up around midnight. Meet at Portas Largas on Rua Atalaia and after a few mojitos saunter the streets and pub-crawl at leisure - there are literally dozens of watering holes to stumble in to. A somewhat more refined bar-hop can be enjoyed further up the hill. At Pavilhão Chinês the extraordinary collection of curios decorating the interior is reason enough to pop in while Cinco Lounge serves the best cocktails in town.
There are a number of contemporary fashion boutiques worth treading a path to but Bairro Alto is particularly known for its vintage and retro scene. Shops like El Dorado are crammed with '60s and '70s apparel, but also stocks beautiful Victorian-era lace dresses and colourful Californian sneakers. Over at Blow Up Vintage the dress code is more '80s, with sporty Fred Perry shirts and Nike holdalls up for grabs. Up in Príncipe Real the emphasis is more on antiques, and there are some fine retail wine outlets, too.