Cais do Sodré, located near the old port along the riverside in downtown Lisbon, was once considered Lisbon’s Red Light District: Sailors, thieves, drifters, guys looking for problems, and of course… prostitutes. Definitely a place you really wouldn’t want to go to at night. Sailors docking in Lisbon for a short leave were invited to bars and discos named after famous ports like “Amsterdam”. Cais do Sodré was once the next amusement park for adults: There were fist fights, cheap booze, night girls, drugs, and violence for all kinds of tastes in some of the decrepit, dark, dirty and narrow streets of Cais do Sodré.
For decades it remained so. Old school discos like Tokyo, Rotterdam and bars like Copenhagen or Viking were open until morning. Slowly, things started to change. Tokyo and Jamaica became trendy and Pensão Amor was considered the “Next big thing!”. Like a freight train, Cais do Sodré was renewed: small cosy places like Sol e Pesca or Pensão Amor were getting lots of good buzz.
And now? Well… Night girls are still there, sometimes drunks, sailors, and of course… the same drunken sailors. The area is crowded with people leaving Bairro Alto as bars close earlier there while here some of them are open until morning! It’s crowded even on weekdays. Everything has changed for the good. On top of that, Rua Nova do Carvalho was painted pink, so you can’t miss it! That’s the revenge of the ugly duckling.