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There’s nothing like watching the sun go down with a glass of something cold before starting a night out in Faro. Tucked away under the arcades opposite the Manuel Bivar gardens sits a stalwart of entertainment in Faro, Columbus Cocktail & Wine Bar (Praça Dom Francisco Gomes 13), on the site of what was, half a century ago, the local hospital.
The building’s original brickwork is visible inside, enhanced by pink and green mood lighting, but the most desirable seating is outside where you can watch the sun set over the leafy palms, glass in hand.
Those in search of something more upscale in Faro should make their way to the veranda on top of the Hotel Faro, where the Ria Formosa Lounge Bar (Praca Dom Francisco Gomes 2) offers excellent cocktails to match its panoramic water vistas.
It would be a shame to visit Portugal and not experience its most famous singing style: fado. Prepare to have your heart broken at O Castelo (Rua do Castelo 11). This bar, restaurant, club and performance space set atop the historic Faro city walls hosts regular musical nights out in Faro in honour of the national lament.
For a more bohemian experience, try the tiny Che Guevara-themed Chessenta (Rua do Prior 24), where bands play squeezed onto a balcony on the mezzanine floor. Hip student bar Taberna Da Sé (Largo da Sé 26) adds to Faro’s nightlife with open-air dining and regular music in the Cidade Velha.
It’s about a half-hour taxi ride from Faro to get to the bigger clubs, but if you’re itching for an all-night boogie, make for Kadoc (Cerca da Areia, Boliqueime), where 7,000-odd clubbers thrash it out over five dance floors with a sub-tropical terrace garden outside.
It’s only another 10 minutes or so to Albufeira itself, where ‘the Strip’ offers small all-night clubs and bars, including three-floored disco Kiss (Rua Vasco da Gama). Save on journey time and taxi fares by catching a train to Albufeira and spending the early evening exploring the nightlife in Faro’s neighbouring city.