Sounds Good! Listen in on Lisbon's Live Music Scene

Some of the most popular and diverse live music in Lisbon can be heard at the city’s annual music festivals, at NOS Alive in Algés, west of the city centre, and at Super Bock Super Rock (SBSR), which takes place at Parques das Nações. These two events occur during the summer and between them bring together some of the biggest acts in the industry. Lisbon is known for its thriving local band scene, and some of the most exciting gigs can be caught at Lounge, a pocket-sized bar near Cais do Sodré. Similarly, Primeiro Andar often hosts live music acts, usually acoustic or percussion-led sets. Complementing SBSR but a stand-alone venue in its own right, the huge MEO Arena at Parques das Nações is Lisbon’s premier concert venue, and where all the big international entertainment acts choose to perform when in town. Smaller but no less significant is the Coliseu dos Recreios, a historic playhouse sited in the city centre that dates from 1890. In keeping with the type of gig it hosts, Paradise Garage over in the Alcântara district attracts a less mainstream, predominantly indie crowd. In the middle of this is the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Chiado, an opera house where classical music concerts are appreciated in gilt-edged surroundings. The ubiquitous Hard Rock Café is always a good bet to catch a band; the Lisbon branch is in Avenida da Liberdade. And for jazz aficionados it has to be Hot Clube de Portugal, where both traditional and more contemporary styles mesmerize the faithful. 

This celebrated club is justly famous as one of Europe's finest live jazz venues. The club is well over 60 years old and has hosted some of the biggest names in the business including Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones. A fire...  Read More

A tuxedo jacket owned and worn by Jimi Hendrix, a custom made Versace suit made for and worn by Elton John and a Gretsch guitar used by Ike Turner number just some of the priceless rock memorabilia on show in Lisbon's Hard Rock Café. The...  Read More

Built in 1792-5, the splendid Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos is regarded as Lisbon's first Neo-Classical building and remains one of the city's finest landmarks. An opera house whose design acknowledges La Scala in Milan, this historic venue...  Read More

24 de Julho & Docas/Alcantara
Paradise Garage
Photo courtesy of Paradise Garage

One of the most respected venues on Lisbon's live music circuit, Paradise Garage shares its name with the influential New York City discotheque that operated from 1976 to 1987. Much more than a concert venue, the Portuguese version stages...  Read More

Going to a show at this theatre is a real treat. This is one of Lisbon's oldest entertainment venues. The original playhouse dates from 1890 and hosted plays, opera and classical music concerts for an appreciative public. Enlarged over the...  Read More

Parque das Nações
MEO Arena
Photo courtesy of cc-by-sa-2.0

Lisbon's (and Portugal's) largest indoor live music venue is also its most iconic. Designed by Regino Cruz, one of the country's most influential architects, and built for the Expo 98 World Exposition, the outer shell of this extraordinary and...  Read More

The "First Floor" works in fact on three levels – bar, restaurant and nightclub. Housed in the historic but rundown Ateneu Comercial de Lisboa, a grand old building dating from 1895, the venue is not readily advertised on the mainstream...  Read More

24 de Julho & Docas/Alcantara

The vibe at this shoe box-sized venue on live music nights positively buzzes. Indeed, Lounge is an institution, a bar that eagerly promotes the indie scene and kicks mainstream out of the window. It gets crowded here: there's nothing intimate...  Read More

Parque das Nações

This annual music festival takes place at Parque das Nações, east of the city centre, and has previously attracted some of the biggest names in the industry, world-class acts like Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Coldplay and Prince. The event also...  Read More

West of Center

Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Foo Fighters and Muse are among the top dollar musical acts to have played at this annual music festival, staged west of the city at Algés. Two stages host headliners and secondary acts while a third, a Clubbing Stage,...  Read More


Meet Paul Bernhardt

Paul Bernhardt cut his teeth as a press photographer in England before leaving the UK to settle in Portugal, where he has lived for over a decade, and where he started to focus on more...  More About Paul
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