on November 3, 2011
Solar Do Vinho Do Porto (the Port Wine House) is the "must do" place for Port Wine lovers to visit in Lisbon. While I’ve better enjoyed drinking Port in a couple of places in Porto, I’ve not found anywhere to beat the chilled atmosphere and sheer choice of ports in this place. The bar is in the Bairro Alto region of town amidst a whole host of bars and restaurants and is in a perfect spot to start or close an evening out. Unfortunately since my last visit to the Solar Do Vinho Do Porto, the place has been done up meaning the old ramshackle atmosphere has been lost forever. Instead it has been replaced by a rather pleasing modern worldly green palace with sophisticated up lighting, spot lights and glass. All is not lost as the staff appear as surly and distant as of old, although the service was reasonably fast (another new development). Despite the changes, the Solar Do Vinho Do Porto remains one of the chill places to visit in Lisbon, and offers a fantastic way to explore Portugal’s most famous export outside of fish and chips, port! There are bottles and bottles of the stuff to be sampled, and even better many of the ports can be bought by the glass, including some of the more expensive 40 year old vintages (although with the most expensive coming in at over 20 Euros a pop, you might need deep pockets for the very best). Fortunately, some of the Ports come in are a meagre 1.50 a glass, and if you know what you are doing, you can grab yourself a lovely glass for less than 2 Euros (try the dry white port if you are stuck). Raise your budget to 3 Euros and you can move into quite a range of options; in fact a mind numbing range of choices across all Port types. To accompany your drink you can order a few basic tapas at the Port Wine House; most of these are good value, and I especially recommend the cheese plate. Given the quantity of alcohol and saturated fat to be consumed here, you might as well die and go to heaven! Those not liking Port can drink something else but expect a disdainful look and a very small glass of beer. The Port Wine House is located in a rather grand parade of 19th century buildings, and the entrance is a little set back from the main street meaning you can pass it quite easily without noticing.
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