8 Places Where You Can Listen to Free Fado in Lisbon

This blog post was originally posted on June 20, 2022 and was updated on March 7, 2023.

So you want to listen to fado, but all you see are overpriced shows in touristy restaurants? Don’t worry, free fado in Lisbon exists, and you don’t have to look hard to find it!

Colourful Fado mureal in Lisbon with guitar players and dancer
Photo credit: Tiff Ng

You’ve seen the sights, tried the best pastéis de nata, and even dipped your toe into Portuguese wine, but you’re still missing that fado show.

While listening to fado is a must-do when you visit Portugal, it can also be an expensive affair.

If you’re on a budget, we suggest looking for tascas with Fado Vadio, fado sang by amateur singers. Unlike most fado restaurants in Lisbon, you don’t have to get a full dinner here or pay a minimum fee, you can simply order a drink and a few petiscos to share.

We know how easy it is to get ripped off with fado shows, so to avoid all that, we made it a list of our favorite places where you can listen to free fado in Lisbon. Enjoy!

Ask any local where to listen to free fado in Lisbon, and they’ll point you to Tasca do Chico. Open since 1993 this tasca is a beloved fado institution. You never know who’s going to sing here, but that’s part of the fun! They have fado shows every night starting around 8 p.m. While you wait, you can order a drink or share a round of petiscos. If you don’t have a reservation, make sure to go early as it gets quite busy! They have another location in Alfama, but we still prefer the original one in Bairro Alto.

Insider’s tip: They don’t accept cards so draw some cash before you go.

2. Tasca do Jaime

Who said fado shows had to be a night event? At Tasca do Jaime, it’s an afternoon thing. Every weekend after lunch, locals and amateur singers gather up here to show off their skills or listen to fado. Not many tourists venture to the Graça neighborhood, but if you find yourself in the area and want to listen to free fado, this is the place to go.

Insider’s tip: Head here early if you want to sit down otherwise you might have to stand outside!

3. Devagar Devagarinho

Just a few steps from Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon’s main shopping boulevard, you’ll stumble upon Devagar Devagarinho. This traditional tasca serves a variety of dishes, including delicious grilled fish. Head here on Wednesdays and Friday nights around 9 p.m., and you might get a fado show with your dinner.

Four grilled fish on a plate
Great food and music, what more could you ask for! Photo credit: Alex Teixeira

Insider’s tip: The restaurant is a bit small, so we recommend booking a table in advance.

4. Solidó

Margarida and António lived in Bairro Alto for nearly twenty years, when they decided to turn their home into a restaurant. That’s how Solidó was born. Now, this two-floor restaurant serves typical Portuguese petiscos to anyone who climbs the steps of Calçada do Duque. At dinner, there’s always a free fado show that starts around 8 p.m.

Walk past Associação do Fado Casto during the day and you probably won’t even notice it, but at night, this place turns into a live fado venue. The owner, Pedro de Castro, is a famous Portuguese guitar player, and when he’s not running the show, you can catch him performing with the fadistas too. While you can book a set menu for €45, we suggest going a bit later and sharing a few petiscos instead.

Insider’s tip: It doesn’t matter if you go for the dinner menu or the petiscos, make sure to book a table in advance!

6. Povo

Amidst the busy nightclubs and bars of Cais do Sodré, Povo caters to a different crowd: a crowd of fado lovers. Throughout the year, this local restaurant organizes musical residencies for young fado singers. The goal is to discover new voices and help them develop their careers. You can catch them on stage for free from Tuesday to Sunday between 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.

A busy night outside the Povo restaurant, Lisbon
Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Povo. Photo credit: MollySVH

7. A Nini

You’ll find most fado venues in the center of Lisbon, but not this one. When it comes to fado, A Nini is still a hidden gem, even for many locals. Usually, the restaurant is only open for lunch, but on Thursdays, they host a fado night too. The show is free, so you only pay for what you order.

8. Grupo Desportivo da Mouraria

Mouraria is the birthplace of fado, so of course, you would find a fado school here. Grupo Desportivo da Mouraria provides all kinds of activities to locals, including fado lessons. But that’s not all. Every month they organize a free fado show, and everyone is welcome to join. If you want to support the younger generation of fado singers, pay them a visit!

Insider’s tip: Check their Facebook page to know the date of the next show!

If you want to learn how to sing fado, you can join the Grupo Desportivo da Mouraria. 

Bonus: A Fado Van and a Record Store

A green vintage van that plays Fado

Walk along Rua do Carmo in Chiado, and you’ll probably spot an old green van playing fado tunes. Inside, there’s usually an old man selling fado records! But what if you want to see more? Then you should visit Discoteca Amália, a record store specialized in fado music. While it’s not the same as listening to a live singer, visiting these places is a great way to get familiar with old fado legends like Amália Rodrigues and new ones like Mariza and Carminho.

From the soulful voices of the singers to the passionate strumming of the Portuguese guitar, these performances will transport you to a world of emotions and stories. So be sure to take advantage of these accessible shows while you are here in Lisbon. To make your time here even more unforgettable, check out our Food & Fado Tour for a perfect evening in Mouraria and Alfama. With great food and company guaranteed, don’t miss out on an experience that you will be singing about for ages!

5 Comment

  1. Thomas says
    June 18, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Joana … ola, bom dia. thank you for this information. i look forward to enjoying some of these options once i move to Lisbon. question for you … i understand that many of the fado houses are touristy and pricey; however, are they also considered to be inauthentic ? most present professional talent don’t they ? what are some reasons they wouldn’t be considered as “real” ? obrigado …. Thomas

    1. Joana Taborda says
      June 18, 2019 at 7:33 am

      Hi Thomas, you’re welcome. Hope you enjoy your time in Lisbon! That’s a good question, what we mean by authentic is more the original experience of what a fado show should be – think small tasca serving petiscos instead of a fancy restaurant with overpriced set menus. However, that doesn’t mean the singers aren’t professional in these restaurants. The show might be very good indeed, I would suggest reading some reviews first or check some of our other fado articles for suggestions. Keep in mind that the food might not be that great, which can be disappointing when you’re paying a lot. Also the word professional can mean several things, in most places you’ll find “fado vadio” which is sang by amateur fado singers, but amateur, in this case, is good 🙂 If you really want to see professional fado singers, meaning famous singers like Mariza and Carminho, you can see an actual show with them or try the Real Fado concerts in Príncipe Real which combines a bit of both types (amateur and professional), plus you get to see some really interesting venues in Lisbon 🙂 Hope this helps!

      1. Thomas says
        June 19, 2019 at 1:45 am

        ola .. obrigado for the clarification. I was in Lisbon last year and got to see the Camane concert at CCB. Also did Fado Inside The Box at Adega Machado. Look forward to more shows and certainly will check out Real Fado.

  2. Maurice says
    October 20, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Dear Joana, thanks for this list, very useful. We are visiting Lisboa this weekend with a group of friends and we are thinking of joining an easy going FADO evening on Sunday. We like to listen but maybe not too quiet (we haven’t seen each other since long ;)) Is there a place you recommend for a group like us?

    1. Devour Tours says
      October 22, 2019 at 5:29 am

      Hi Maurice! Solidó and Povo on this list are quite easy going and you can book a table in advance on their Facebook pages. Solidó has dinners with fado starting around 7 p.m. and Povo around 8:30 p.m. We hope this helps!

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