When I was in Lisbon, I came upon Grapes and Bites WineHouse…it was so awesome that I ended up going twice. Tucked away at Rua do Norte 81-83 in trendy Bairro Alto, this small restaurant and wine house offers delicious food, an extensive range of amazing wines, attentive service and fabulous live music with a boisterous crowd.
You have to be careful not to pass it as there’s only this small sign to the right of the entrance. Once you slip past the entrance, you’re greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere (at least by day). The red walls and wooden tables give it a cozy feeling. I couldn’t wait to sit down and tuck in with some cheese and bottles upon bottles of wine. The fantastic wine selection on the wall is massive so just ask the staff for current recommendations. They won’t let you down.
The first half of the experience did not disappoint. Unsurprisingly, we started out with white wine with our server expertly opening the bottle, giving it a giant deep sniff with his experienced nose, and took a tasting of the wine himself. I do prefer it when they do this versus giving the first taste test to the customer. The cheeses were accompanied by a bread basket that seemingly never ran out.
Afterwards, we were treated to a special presentation of him opening a bottle of wine the “traditional way” using a flame torch instead of corkscrew. He would heat the metal wine holder until it got so hot after he placed it along the bottle neck that the glass would crack and break clean.
Then of course, we had to indulge in charcuterie! Pepperoni, salami, and other greasy thin slices of meat. It was divine and delicious with a fresh bottle of port. At night, it gets super crowded so come early! There is also live music and it gets loud. The wine bar’s patrons get loud but it’s all good lively fun. There was even a birthday party where the whole place paused to sing happy birthday to someone with a raucous cheers at the end.
The downside? They close at midnight! Granted it is a wine bar and not a club or regular bar. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of places to roam around in Barrio Alto and you can even carry your drink outside (open carry) as long as you’re not openly drinking and being obvious about it.
Grapes & Bites
Rua do Norte, n81 R/C | Bairro Alto