Monday 4 September 2017

Pensao Amor

To be considered great, to me a bar has to have a few essential characteristics; they have to serve decent gin, they have to be dimly lit, they need to be hard to find and last but not least, have a quirky and unique interior. ‘Pensao Amor’ ticked all those boxes … it is off the beaten track, although not far from the main square and down a side street (on the Rua do Alecrim to be precise) where all the bars have no obvious entrances or signage. Pensao Amor means, at least according to google translator anyway, ‘think love’. A not totally inappropriate name, given that it used to be a brothel! And with that I couldn’t wait to get upstairs. …. though just for a drink, obviously!

   Oooh Matron 

The d├ęcor and ambience certainly reflected it’s previous history and no doubt would raise more than a smile for some patrons. Salacious and titillating images, faux-classic noir art, velvet seats and animal print benches with tacky, whorehouse chic chandeliers. I just wanted to have it flat-packed and take it home with me.

The loos were well worth a visit just on their own, with the ‘art’ on display somewhat immodest to say the least. Miniature figurines portraying a variety of sexual acts for the amusement and titillation of those relieving themselves. The pole in the bar was just too inviting (thank God it was only one in the afternoon and no one was around to see my Sally Bowles moment!). No getting away with that in a vintage Caroline Charles jacket.

The bar was dimly lit naturally and as always when I’m in a hot climate, I ordered a classic Negroni. My companion on this trip opted for a mojito and by heaven, were they good. We sat, attempting an air of sophistication, in-between the old chesterfields and imagined it was the sort of place Mata Hari would come to dance for her supper. The Pensao Amor has to be in the top three bars I have visited anywhere in the world. Come here, I dare you, just make sure you dress appropriately…. or should that be inappropriately?!


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