Cafés literários em Lisboa

Tue, 05.11.2019

Cafés literários: centres of knowledge

On the last 5th of November, our Portuguese language school organized a walking tour about Cafés literários em Lisboa.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, guided us during the afternoon. We started at Café a Brasileira. Adriano Soares Teles do Vale; a Portuguese emigrant in Brazil became rich with the business of coffee. He decided to come back to Portugal to spread his business and opened the coffee shop in 1905. When he started the selling of coffee in Lisbon, people didn’t like its taste, because it was very bitter. Adriano was able to convince people to drink coffee with sugar. During the 20th century, Fernando Pessoa and Santa Rita Pintor were some of the intellectuals that used to gather in Brasileira. They talked about subjects related to literature and society.

After, we went straight to Café Nicola, one of the first coffee shops in the 18th century. The owner, Joaquim Fonseca Albuquerque, inaugurated the Café Nicola in 1929. The bohemian Portuguese poet Bocage was a regular costumer of the coffee shop. It was like his second home. There, he wrote some of his most famous poems while he was flirting with prostitutes or putting himself in troubles with police. Despite of his bohemian facet, he wrote about freedom and because of that, he was considered a risk to Monarchy.

We ended up in Martinho da Arcada. Before being a coffee shop in 1782, it was an ice factory that did ice cream during the summer season. Fernando Pessoa wrote one of his masterpieces Mensagem there. Apparently, in this place, Pessoa drank his last coffee three before his death on the 30th of November 1935.

At the end of the walking tour, we socialized at Martinho da Arcada.

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A walking tour about cafés literários in Lisbon

Cafés literários is the Portuguese expression for literary coffee shops. During the 18th and 19th century, many intellectuals such as Eça de Queirós or Fernando Pessoa gathered in some cafés literários. During their meetings, they discussed topics about society, literature or politics. On the 5th of November, we´ll explore some of these centres of Portuguese culture.

Indira Leão, our history teacher, will guide us during the afternoon. We’ll start in Café A Brasileira. The owner, Adriano Soares Teles do Vale, after returning from Brazil founded it on the 19th of November of 1905. Adriano while living in Brazil profited with his coffee business. He tried to expand his business in Portugal, were he created coffee outlets, known as Brasileiras. The name brasileiras was a reference to the coffee produced and imported from Brazil. Brazileira do Chiado maintains its own identity connected to circles of renowned intellectuals, such as Fernando Pessoa and Santa Rita Pintor. Fernando Pessoa’s attendance in the café literário led to the inauguration, in the 1980s, of the bronze statue by Lagoa Henriques.

Then, we’ll go to Café Nicola, one of the first coffee shops in the 18th century. Joaquim Fonseca Albuquerque inaugurates it as Café Nicola in 1929, a name that prevails until today. Known to have been second home of the poet Bocage, it was a meeting point for other writers, artists and politicians.

We’ll end in Martinho da Arcada. Inaugurated on 7th of January of 1782, it was one of the favourites places of Fernando Pessoa to write and drink. The poems that integrate Mensagem and many pages of the Livro do Desassossego were created here.

After the walking tour, we will stay in Martinho da Arcada to socialize.

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