In the hilly city of Lisbon, Portugal, it shouldn't come as a surprise that you need to climb a set of steps off a residential side street, nestled in an old neighborhood near the picturesque Amoreiras garden and the 17th-century aqueduct, to enter the courtyard concealing Bar Procópio.
A historic jewel hidden away in the heart of the city, the entrance to this bar is as much a part of its charm as the experiences that await within. To enter, you must ring the bell or knock on the red door, like a passwordless speakeasy awaiting the discerning patron.
This unusual and whimsical entrance sets the tone for what lies beyond the door – a blend of warm hospitality and timeless sophistication that has remained unchanged since the bar's inception nearly five decades ago. It is, after all, the elder sibling to iconic Lisbon pubs such as Parodia, Foxtrot, and Pavilhão Chinês, each one bearing its own unique legacy.
The moment you step inside Bar Procópio, you are instantly transported back in time. The setting is reminiscent of a 20th-century French bistro, complete with vintage Art Nouveau décor. Original pieces from the romantic period embellish every corner of the bar, adding an authentic, vintage charm to the ambience.
The intimate interior features an old-fashioned woodwork fireplace, an antique piano, and sparkling Art Nouveau glass chandeliers. Strategically placed mirrors reflect the gentle glow of light, offering the delightful opportunity to discreetly observe everyone in the pub. Antique mirrors, pictures, original artwork, and brass lamps adorn the establishment. It has the intimacy of your local dive bar (thanks in part to the provided popcorn) with the sophistication of cosmopolitan Lisbon. This fusion of vintage charm and subtle sophistication makes for an atmosphere that's both romantic and inviting.
Soft jazz, blues, and Bossa Nova fill the air, complementing the vintage décor and offering an ideal backdrop for intimate conversations. It’s a place where the bustle of the city seems to fade into the background, replaced by the comforting crackle of a record player and the clinking of cocktail glasses.
The cocktail menu at Procópio is extensive, with a wide range of classic and contemporary drinks. The "Gin Fizz" and "Margarita" are popular choices, but if you're feeling adventurous, try the "Procópio Special," a secret cocktail that's been a house specialty for over five decades. From traditional Portuguese Port, Moscatel, and wines, to exotic cocktails and an array of gins, there's something to suit every palate. For lovers of craft beer, a selection of Belgian and Portuguese artisanal brews offers an inviting alternative.
Whiskey aficionados will be spoilt for choice, with an array of classic whiskies including Irish, Scotch, and bourbon on offer. If you have a taste for the traditional, local liqueurs such as Ginginha and Amarguinha provide a flavorful trip into Portugal's rich cultural history.
Complementing the diverse drink selection is the popular Procópio Toasts, a staple comfort food that, much like everything else at Procópio, is available until the bar's closing at 3AM. It’s a tribute to the fact that at Procópio, hospitality is as important as history.
Procópio is a sanctuary where time seems to stand still. It's more than a bar; it's a tribute to the enduring spirit of Lisbon, an oasis of nostalgia and refinement nestled in the heart of a city that is constantly evolving.