Bottom Feeder Navigator: Lisbon

Bottom Feeders live to explore the dives of South Jersey and beyond, and with this special edition, we dive beyond for the first time. First, we drop anchor off the Iberian Peninsula to bring you the inside scoop on the binging in Portugal’s capitol city: Lisbon.

Lisbon

Trolley

One of the many badass public transportation options in Lisbon. Much more pleasant than rolling down the hill drunk.

20150526_224517

Vadia Ruiva: go ahead and put that into Google translate

Wine is king in Portugal, and the first thing I noticed about the wine scene is Lisbon was a new section on the wine lists: vinho verde. Vinho verde – green wine – is not actually green. In fact the ones I drank were even clearer than white wine, slightly naturally carbonated, and dangerously easy to drink, and even more so when you consider that a bottle only costs around €12 in a restaurant.  Green wine refers to “young wine”, and it can actually be red or white.

Speaking of restaurants, the food in Portugal is reason enough to sail across the Atlantic. Tapas are everywhere, which is perfect for the dive lifestyle. And most restaurants have what basically comes down to bar snacks – some combination of toast, dip, cheese, and olives – on the table as soon as you sit down (fair warning: if you touch them, you get charged for them). One of the standouts was Restaurante Dois Arcos, where I got an enormous platter of febras de porco – a pork dish that was deliciously similar to scrapple – for €6.30.

Totally normal urinals at Museu de Cerveja

Totally normal urinals at Museu de Cerveja

After dinner, we typically walked to one of the many cafes serving up Super Bock and Sagres for €1-2 a bottle. Most little places, even on the side of the road, will have one of the two on tap. The list of popular Portuguese beers pretty much ends there, but there is a small craft scene if you look for it. The Museu de Cerveja (Beer Museum, urinals pictured) is a brewpub with three house beers on tap and a decent selection of bottles from other Portuguese speaking countries. It’s probably the most expensive beer you can find in Lisbon, but worth a few extra Euros to experience 2M from Mozambique and Vadia Ruiva from a small Portuguese brewery.

Lisbon has a lot to see and plenty to write about, but rest assured, this Bottom Feeder made sure to document the dive life. This post wouldn’t be complete without a true review, so let’s cut to the chase:

Ginjinha sem Rival20150525_232030_HDR

Ginjinha sem Rival (R. Portas de Santo Antão 7, 1150 Lisboa, Portugal, Hours 7 AM – Midnight) is a hole in the wall (literally) that serves shots of Ginjinha for about €1.50 or so. Ginjinha is a Portuguese sour cherry liquor. Shots come one of two ways: with cherries, or without. There are no tables or chairs, just a line, a counter, and a barman. They actually have a full bar, but we didn’t see anyone deviate from the standard orders. And why would they? You can get whiskey anywhere. Enjoy the Ginjinha where you can.

Ginjinha sem Rival is one of several little places around Lisbon that sell their own versions of the stuff, but we liked this one best and brought few liters home. The area is quiet on weeknights, but when it gets late enough and on weekends, some local divers pile in with the tourists to line up for shot after shot. Show up at the right time, and maybe – just maybe –you’ll get the treat of watching an absolutely trashed local stumble in and out until he was completely out of money, and then proceed to sing in the streets before laying down in a pile of trash. Good times.

Ratings: 
Food: N/A
Drink: ★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★
Price: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

Bottom Line: They open early, but if you’re not the type to drink at 7AM, then first spend the day reevaluating your commitment to the dive life, stop in for a nightcap or six, and go back and drink some Ginjinha the next morning.

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