The Rua nova do carvalho was considered one of the twelve European favorite streets, the New York Times
For decades, streetwalkers and sailors were the main denizens of Rua Nova do Carvalho, a dockside lane of seedy nightclubs named for Rotterdam, Liverpool, Copenhagen and other ports.
These days, all types walk the street, which has been closed to traffic, painted a cheerful shade of pink and elevated into Lisbon’s most bustling new party strip, thanks to a combination of enterprising bar owners and municipal action.
Tin is in at Sol e Pesca (Rua Nova do Carvalho 44). Stacked in illuminated glass cabinets, hundreds of cans of tinned fish line the maritime-themed bar, a former fishing tackle shop. Drinkers can indulge in sardines in tomato sauce (4.90 euros, or about $5.30 at $1.05 to the euro), mackerel roe (€9.50) and other briny bounty with their shots of ginjinha cherry liquor (€2).
Gin is in a few steps away at Lateral (Avenida Barbosa du Bocage 107A), which serves multiple boutique varieties of the liquor, such as Bloom (€8) and Berkeley Square (€12). Slip into one of the classic wooden school chairs and you’ll also get an education in neo-Portuguese cuisine, from scrambled eggs with lush farinheira sausage (€7.20) to tuna focaccia with wasabi mustard (€9.50).
You’ll find robust tapas dishes at Povo (Rua Nova do Carvalho 32-36), but the real star is the Portuguese language itself. Within the intimate chapel-vaulted,candlelit space, local poets give readings and young practitioners of fado,Portugal’s melancholy folk music, perform concerts. It all goes down smoothly with Povo’s several varieties of caipirinhas (€6).
More spirited soundtracks abound next door. Lined with red velvet banquettes and tasseled lamps, Bar da Velha Senhora (Rua Nova do Carvalho 40) is a bordello-like den with burlesque shows and cabaret, jazz and flamenco acts. For a harder edge, order a Super Bock beer (€2) and crowd the stage at Tokyo (Rua Nova do Carvalho 12), a “rock bar” where albums decorate the wall and phrases from iconic songs (“We are the champions …”) are stenciled on the bar.
The street’s most medieval space hosts its most modern performers. Stony and vaulted, the cavernous Music Box club (Rua Nova do Carvalho 24) is a sonic cathedral where you’ll hear Portuguese indie rock, Brazilian hip-hop, minimalist drum ’n’ bass collectives, funk and electro D.J.s. An absinthe (€6) makes everyone fast friends.