Lounge, Pensão Amor, Lisbon

Is Pensão Amor (the Guesthouse of Love) Lisbon’s coolest bar?

There are two entrances to Pensão Amor  in Lisbon’s revamped Cais do Sodré. One of them leads to a parlour stuffed with upholstered chairs, mirrors, lamps, and pictures and sculptures of naked women. Scattered around the room, as if tossed aside, there are feather boas and sequined bras. The ceiling is adorned with images of nude men frolicking.

The clientele, thankfully, are fully clothed and contentedly sipping their drinks and chatting with friends.

Lounge, Pensão Amor, Lisbon

These days, everyone keeps their clothes on!

The other entrance on Rua Nova do Carvalo leads up an old stairway with crumbling plaster and saucy paintings, leaving you in no doubt as to the origins of the establishment.

Painted advertisements, Pensão Amor, Lisbon

The sailor on the wall gives you a clue as to where many of the pensão’s former customers came from. Cais do Sodre is still one of the city’s major ports and used to be a thriving red light district.

Peep show advertisement

Original paintings on the stairway to Pensão Amor, Lisbon.

Although Pensão Amor used to be a brothel, and still has many of its original features including furry walls, it’s now one of the most popular bars in Lisbon. It attracts a slightly older crowd than the Bairro Alto bars, possibly due to slightly higher prices, or it could be the comfy chairs – if you want a seat, you should get there before 10 pm at the weekend. Drinks go up by a euro after 10 pm which is another reason to arrive earlier.

Furry walls with tiles and paintings

I love the combination of fake fur and original tiles on this wall.

Early in the evening, the main room is fairly empty but as the night progresses, it fills up with revellers as the DJ gets into gear. If you’re not in a dancing mood, take your pick of themed rooms to hang out in – there’s the sparkly pole dance room, a tented space and a furry room.

Pole dancing room, Pensão Amor, Lisbon

On Thursday and Sunday afternoons, there are pole dancing workshops, presumably in this room.

For more details about Pensão Amor, including events, check out their Facebook page.

This post was inspired by this week’s photo challenge theme, Love.

Have you got a favourite bar in Portugal? Let me know in the comments.

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