A Tour of Lisbon’s Alternative Neighbourhoods

Marvila and Beato

Some way out of the centre of Lisbon is the trendy, up-and-coming area of Marvila and its neighbouring district Beato, next to the Tejo river. This formerly downtrodden area of abandoned warehouses has now flourished into a thriving urban hub following its revitalisation over the past few years, with a growing entrepreneurial culture featuring co-working and creative spaces, art galleries, artisan breweries, alternative stores, antique shops, funky restaurants and bars.

Head to Cantinho do Vintage, for some interior vintage shopping and inspiration in this market solely dedicated to second hand furniture. Tem-Plate closeby, is a showroom and concept store housed in a large industrial space featuring limited edition collections of high-end brands, including some interesting local, sustainable lines by Portuguese designers.

Enjoy a relaxed lunch after some shopping at what has now become the local institution  Café con Calma for some delicious homemade dishes, or or at Entra, (meaning “enter”), where chef Miguel Brandão cooks with fresh products brought from the market. A Marítima de Xabregas housed in a mid-century building serves quality fresh fish in a relaxed setting and Aquele Lugar Que Não Existe, meaning ‘that place that does not exist’, serves great international food including pizzas.

Marvila is also the neighbourhood of artisan beers, where you can find Fabrica Musa with its industrial vibe, Lince and Dois Corvos Breweries, a hidden gem, the first brewery in Marvila, featuring the first artisan beer ever produced in Lisbon and you can see how the beer is brewed.

Head to Heterónimo Baar for drinks in the evening, named after Fernando Pessoa, serving delicious cocktails before enjoying dinner at Dinastia Tang or Chackal’s most recent restaurant El Bulo Social Club. The event venue Armazém 16 is a well kept secret, with its 36 windows and wonderful views of the city has already hosted many DJ events, and EKA Palace, the place to go for those seeking all night weekend parties.

The coworking scene here is burgeoning, a few of which includes the Fabrica Moderna, a factory turning ideas into products and Cowork Todos where you can rent a space daily alongside other digital nomads, freelancers and entrepreneurs.

The Abel Pereira da Fonseca building was formerly a wine warehouse, built in 1917 it is also known as the “Wine Cathedral”, designed by the architect Norte Júnior. Today it houses the Refeitório do Senhor Abel restaurant, named after the former owner, and The Royal Rawness coffee shop serving specialty coffee.

Lisbon WorkHub **has taken over the apartments in the attic, including a coworking space, meeting room and large space for events framed by one of the iconic windows overlooking the square.

The Creative Hub Beato, promises to be one of the largest international centres spread across 20 buildings that are currently being transformed to bring together an array of global companies in the technology, innovation and creative industries.

marvila and beato

As one of the most emergent areas of the city, Marvila has also been fast attracting artists and the creative set. Currently centred around Marvila Art District (MAD), a new concept cultural centre focusing on contemporary art created by young artists, many from Portuguese-speaking countries.  Together with its partners, MOVART Art Gallery and Reward Properties, MAD aims to break museum and gallery stereotypes of museums with their unique and multifaceted offerings.

In addition to the Underdogs Gallery, Francisco Fino Gallery and Bruno Múrais Gallery, don’t miss the Fábrica Braço de Prata. Formerly a military factory, it was transformed in the 90s into one of Lisbon’s most important cultural centres, including a restaurant, bar, music scene, jazz school and art gallery, also offering workshops and talks.

Apart from locals ‘in the know’, Marvila still remains relatively secret, and it is truly worth spending a whole day in this quirky fun neighbourhood, exploring the variety of art galleries, vintage shops, delicious food and artisanal beer before it gets more widely discovered!


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