This historic bar forms part of Lisbon’s vast Águas Livres Aquaduct and its cellar runs through the tunnel that once led to the reservoir. The boxy facade might not look like much, but the exposed brick walls and barred windows add to the character of the interior. Chafriz do Vinho sits on the northern side of the trendy suburb Príncipe Real, making it a convenient place to pull up for a drink after a bout of boutique shopping. The bar stocks a range of international and Portuguese wines, plus a selection of brandies and whiskies.
2. Enoteca de Belém
Enoteca de Belém is tucked down the Travessa Marta Pinto alley in Lisbon’s lovely outer suburb of Belém. The bar serves around 80 table wines by the glass, chosen by award-winning sommelier Nelson Guerreiro, who represented Portugal at the Best Sommelier of Europe competition in 2017. The bar and fine dining restaurant form part of the Travessa da Erminda cultural project, with boutique jewellers and artists in the surrounding precinct.
The small bar sits tight in the buzzy Cais do Sodré precinct near the Tagus River, but has an intimate atmosphere and relaxed vibe. Alongside the wine selection sits a tasty selection of nibbles, including cured off-bone ham and Portuguese cheese. The staff at The Wine Cellar seemingly know the ins and outs of every Portuguese wine, so feel free to quiz them on the true meaning of Portugal’s green wine (vinho verde), the history of port, and the best of Portugal’s wine-producing regions. The Wine Cellar is a top choice for a late afternoon drink, or swing by around midday to sample the weekly lunch menu.
Finding good restaurants and bars in the vicinity of major tourist attractions can be hit-and-miss, but in the case of Winebar do Castelo, which sits 100m from the entrance to Lisbon’s São Jorge Castle, it’s definitely a hit. Owners Daniel Afonso and Nuno Santos have around 150 wines on their menu, but always have a secret stash of unlisted wines on hand so they can dig out something exactly to your taste. Given the castle and bar sit atop a rather arduous incline, whatever wine you settle on will feel like the best kind of reward (and it’ll be much easier on the way down). Buses and trams will run you up the hill if you’re feeling beat.
Brazilian sommelier Mike Taylor’s love affair with Portugal and its people drew him to Lisbon, where he took over Bottega Montucci in 2017. While Taylor keeps busy consulting in gourmet wine pairings and fine dining around Europe, you’ll usually find him on hand at Bottega in Príncipe Real to guide you through his handpicked wine list. Tasting highlights include sweet wines of Madeira and Setúbal, plus Portugal’s sweetheart, port, paired with a side of blue cheese and dark chocolate. If you can’t choose – we don’t blame you – you can sample five glasses for €20.
The Old Pharmacy is exactly that: one hundred years of history are wedged between the walls of this neon-lit bar, where rows of white cabinets are filled with the best kind of medicine. Pull up a stool at a wine-barrel table and let the vinho-trained apothecary recommend one of 350-odd Portuguese potions to suit your palate. A selection of share plates, or petiscos, is also available.
– TEXT BY EMILY MCAULIFFE
PHOTOS: THE WINE CELLAR FACEBOOK, CHAFARIZ DO VINHO FACEBOOK, ENOTECA DE BELÉM, BOTTEGA MONTUCCI, INSTAGRAM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.