You don’t have to go far to find vintage hotspots while in Portugal. Lisbon is a perfect example of timeless Portuguese charm. Just strolling along the narrow cobbled streets in the Old Quarter is a feast for the eyes. Make sure to get on wooden trams or iron funiculars in bold yellow that go up and down the city’s many hills – they are over 100 years old and possibly the most picturesque in Europe. Take tram no. 28 to Alfama and find yourself in a nostalgic village within a city with streets surrounded by brightly painted houses, azure tiles and tangled stairways. While travelling to Lisbon and Porto, I had a quest to find coffee shops with hipster retro-design and nostalgic atmosphere.
Here’s the list of cafes that will definitely take you back in time:
Café com Calma | Lisbon
It’s a perfect stop on the way to see Alvaro Siza’s Pavilion of Portugal in the east side of Lisbon. Situated in whitewashed building with green shutters in Marvila neighbourhood, Café com Calma is a real heaven for vintage lovers and hipsters alike. Moorish geometric mosaic floors and Mid-Century furniture is like a more chic version of your Granny’s kitchen. Tables look old and the chairs squeak but there’s no need for fixing – every piece in the Café con Calma adds to its atmosphere. In recent years, the cafe has gained popularity from tourists, as well as locals. Homemade cakes are praised by the guests here but I settled for an early-morning coffee and bacon sandwich (that cost less than two euros).
Rua do Açúcar 10, 1950-242 Lisboa, Portugal +351 21 868 0398, website Mon - Fri: 8am - 7pm Sat: 12pm - 5pm
Fabrica Lisboa | Lisbon
It’s not all about pastel de nata in Lisbon. Fabrica Lisboa is known for its excellent croissant (€1.20). Take a peek at the semi-open kitchen behind the counter to confirm the freshness of the baked goods. The bell usually rings once the fresh bread and croissant batch is good to go and crowd appears – like in the old days. The collection of vintage items can be spotted in every corner of the shop – statues, pornographic cassettes, old phone, kitchenware and a hard-to-miss Avery weighing scale. Even the coffee here is served from the first industrial model of Delta espresso machine with Portuguese seal. By looking at the collection, one might think that the café has been running in Rua da Madalena since the middle of the last century but it is actually a relatively new venture by Francisco Moreno and João Múrias (since 2015).
Rua da Madalena 121, 1100-319 Lisboa, Portugal +351 21 596 8827, website Mon - Sun: 8am - 7pm
Fabrica Coffee Roasters | Lisbon
This independent coffee shop claims to have introduced specialty coffee in Portugal. Beans from Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Guatemala reach Lisbon’s premises green and unaltered. Historically the further south you travel in Europe the darker the roast profile becomes. Fabrica Coffee Roasters challenges the status quo and offers its crowd light roasts for filter coffee or a slightly darker roast for espresso. Freshly roasted coffee bags are available for sale and make a memorable souvenir. Fabrica Coffee Roasters has two branches but the one on Rua da Flores has this laid-back feel. Especially, if you are lucky enough to settle on a comfy green velvet sofa right next to a La Marzocco coffee machine.
Rua das Flores 63, 1200-015 Lisboa, Portugal (+351) 21 139 29 48, website Mon - Sun: 9am - 6pm
The Coffee Room | Porto
The concept store Feeting Room, which sells a great selection of shoes, clothes and accessories by local designers, is also a wonderful stop for caffeine fix. Take stairs to the second floor to find open plan coffee bar and a large square wooden communal table. It was in 2016 that the owners wished to add the missing part to their concept store – also to introduce third wave coffee in Porto. The Coffee Room was designed as an oasis to take a break and flip through some magazines. Communal table invites locals sipping their ice lattes to share insider tips with fellow international guests. The top-notch coffee comes from Porto’s Combi roasters and is enjoyed best with brigadeiros (Brazilian chocolate sweets) from Brigadão.
Largo dos Lóios 86, 4050-338 Porto, Portugal +351 220 110 463, website Mon - Thu: 10am - 8pm Fri - Sat: 10am - 9pm Sun: 12pm - 8pm
BOP | Porto
Sitting just a stone’s throw away from 19th-century wrought-iron Bolhão market, BOP is like a jazz kissaten, just instead of a club sandwich you will be given a hearty burger to accompany your coffee. Before approaching coffee menu, guests are mesmerised by the dazzling amount of vinyl neatly aligned in wooden shelves. The owner’s private collection is not for display only – customers are invited to listen to their chosen LPs. But the best tune here is a single-origin Honduran pour-over coffee served along with an outstanding crispy chicken burger. Vintage vinyl, specialty coffee and handcrafted burgers – hipster vibe is guaranteed.
Rua Firmeza 575, Porto Portugal +351 22 200 1732, website Mon - Fri: 11am - 1am Sat - Sun: 10am - 1am