29 Sep, 2016
A faded frontage and closed red door hide a curation of more than four thousand curious collectables spanning five rooms. Yet this is not an antique shop or a museum, it is a bar, a treasure trove and a collector’s folly housed in an old grocery store. It’s very existence is only spread by word-of-mouth and sharing of their business cards and it can be easily missed by the casual passer-by. However, ring the doorbell after six pm and you will be warmly welcomed by retro-red-waistcoated hosts. Stagger around with the rest of the cocktail clutching patrons in open-eyed and open-jawed amazement as your synapses try to process seven decades of passionate accumulation. An array of toys from both world wars, model trains and planes, hundreds of lead soldiers, toby jugs and comedic ceramics all jostle for position in the over crammed series of spaces. Outside of the drinks and snacks, the only other item for sale is the astounding twenty page menu that covers every drink from imaginable to unimaginable as well as some fine examples of erotic art.
Once a grocery store selling fine imported teas, the story goes that the sociable owner could not resist chatting and drinking with his customers and was eventually forced to convert the five rooms into a bar and the perfect showcase for his expansive cache of whimsical objets. Today Pavilhão Chinês is an original, a rare treat and a great find for the sleuth of secret bars.
Rua Dom Pedro V, 89/91, 1250-093 Lisbon, Portugal
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