TRY YOUR LUCK
ROUTE: NIGHT LIFE | SANDRA NOBRE STORYTELLER | JOANA RAY ILLUSTRATOR
A traveller with a guitar is always accompanied, maybe that is why we always take it with me, wherever I go. I play in the rooms where I stay, in the sofa of the friends I meet and who invite me to a meal, in any garden sitting in the ground, once in a while in bars where I dare to enter a jam session. Some nights I leave the guitar in a corner and try to vary my repertoire, that is how I found the Snooker Club Lisboa, with pool tables like the movie classics, between clouds of real cigarette smoke – another classic almost extinct –, which cover the clumsiness of some. Another of my favourite places is inspired by a Clint Eastwood western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which devotes much of its programme to the exhibition of short films The space is versatile and does not fit the cliché of cinema with popcorn, interspersed with music, and the bar is a mandatory stop.
One of these days, I realised I was involved in a romantic comedy and I was not the main character I met Pablo, a Spaniard from Seville, who fell in love with a Portuguese woman, but forgot to ask her name in the night they met. For three months, he has been returning to Pensão Amor, in an attempt to see her, but without any luck; she vanished like King Sebastião, the 16th king of Portugal, who disappeared at the battle of Alcácer-Quibir, in the North of Africa. According to the legend, he will return on a foggy day. One of these Thursdays, we went for some snacks and drinks and I ended up shouting “olé” in a bullfight, at the mythical national bullfighting hall, dating from 1892, Campo Pequeno. Pablo is a figure capable of leaving the arena on the shoulders as the best bullfighter, he is only unlucky in love, which is said to be proportional to the luck in gambling and we have just confirmed the saying.
In the Lisbon Casino, between the 1100 slot machines and Blackjack tables, the Spaniard chose the roulette He lost his head: he bet 20 euros on number 25, the same day he met the girl, red, the colour of passion, he argued. He got it right and earned 700€. By this time, we were the best friends and he wanted to celebrate with me – drown his sorrows in cocktails. We went to JNcQUOI, but as soon as we saw the appearance of a group that was arriving in their high-end cars accompanied by their babes with flashing sequins, we thought it was better to cross Avenida da Liberdade and quench the thirst at Red Frog, an old school speakeasy [which in 2017 was considered the 92nd best bar in the world on the list of The World’s 50 Best Bars, which are 100 after all], recreating the ambience of the 1920s and 1930s, the time of the Prohibition, where our scratched jeans fit better. We drank as if the Prohibition had ended, which in the case of Pablo was more like drinking off the pain, and he was almost capable of composing a fado.
I have not seen him for a while, so I do not know how his story ended. I have not returned to the pension lately; I have been doing a terrace and rooftop bar circuit to enjoy the good weather. I stop at Quiosque do Cais or Mercado da Ribeira for a beer, or I play posh people and drink a flute at the Sky Bar Lisboa, in the Tivoli Liberdade Hotel, a cocktail at Zazah Good View, in the top floor of the LACS – Lisbon Art Centre & Studios, leaning over the Port of Lisbon and the 25 de Abril Bridge, or I add a few botanicals to gin, at Gin Lovers in Príncipe Real. The guitar has stayed at home, I am trying to play another song to the girls I met. E when the night does not go too well and I want to cheer up a little, I go to see Mónica’s strip show at Viking, another of the city’s ex-libris, and I wrap my thoughts around her legs hanging on the pole. I am not lucky at gambling, but tomorrow I will return to Tinder, and maybe love peeps around the corner.