Bottom Feeder Navigator: Porto


This guy just couldn't make it up the hill without laying down for a minute.

This guy just couldn’t make it up the hill without laying down for a minute.

Porto is a stunning city built on maze of nearly-unwalkably-steep hills, but if you’re cheap like me, you walk anyway. After a long day of spanning bridges and ascending streets that my own car probably couldn’t climb, a healthy serving of cheap European beer is guaranteed to hit the spot.

For this review, we crank up the nitrous and sink into a cheap, dark Eurodive in the alleys of Porto, Portugal:

Bar Pherrugem

On a continent full of tourists and night clubs, Bar Pherrugem (R. das Oliveiras 83, 4050-448 Porto, Portugal; Hours: Sun – Thu 10 PM – 4 AM, Fri – Sat 9:30 PM – 4 AM) is one of those European bars that has no sign, no windows, and no business until 11PM. Perfectly tailored to the daily 10-2 grind synonymous with the Iberian way of life, and accessible only those travellers who don’t mind running on fumes.

The unassuming daytime exterior of Bar Pherrugem.

The unassuming daytime exterior of Bar Pherrugem.

Hidden in plain sight, the place looks like any other building during the day. But at night, the colorfully tiled exterior opens up to a narrow cave spilling out rock music and Super Bock. The atmosphere is a nice break from the clubs and café bars that one gets used to in Europe. There is no dancing. There is very little audible conversation. Bar Pherrugem is a metal bar – every great European city has one, (if you know where to dive) and Porto is no exception.

The bartenders at Bar Pherrugem look certifiably insane, which seems reasonable considering where they spend their waking hours. Walking up to the bar, I noticed two kinds of customers. Those that asked for drink and waited to be charged (tourists), and those that ordered by holding up fingers seemed to pay whatever the hell they wanted. I took the later route and eventually reached equilibrium with a standard order of 2 Super Bocks for €2 every time. The beers are small (hence the double orders) but it works out to €5 per liter, which is pretty much unbeatable.


And the cavernesque interior. When there were more people there, their bodies covered any light that was available for photography.

After a while we migrated outside, where most of the pre-midnight crowd seems to smoke and drink publicly. As the night carried on, the inside got more and more crowded, and the bartender’s head bangs got more and more violent. I’m pretty sure I could have just walked behind the bar and poured myself a beer at this place, but why risk it when the Euro is so weak anyway?

Food: N/A
Drink: ★★½
Atmosphere: ★★★½
Price: $
Overall: ★★★½

Bottom Line: Dark as a cave and loud as hell. Nobody is dancing, and there are definitely old men hiding in the corners. Bar Pherrugem is a classic Eurodive.


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