Madonna in Alfama Bar
Ever since Madonna arrived in Portugal that she’s been making both Portuguese and foreign journalists wonder what it is that the Portuguese capital has that’s so special. The interest has but increased after pictures of the singer at the Tejo Bar in the Lisbon district of Alfama came to light in the latest edition of the Italian Vogue. The article has made everyone wonder what’s so special about this apparently non-descript bar in this old district.
What is it that attracted her? Why would Madonna choose this tiny establishment that doesn’t even have a fixed menu, unless Rui, one of the bartenders who also has a fling for Wittgenstein, decided to have a cheese toast for dinner and there is some left for a hungry customer?
After a visit, the obvious answer seems to be that there’s nothing there that could have attracted a world-famous star such as Madonna. Nothing apart from the fact that nobody seemed to care that she has chosen the venue for a jam session over any other she could have wanted.
In all truthfulness, I don't even think I heard her name during the whole evening I was there. There’s nothing pretentious about the bar; they don’t make her pride of place. There are glasses outside, there’s a little fan on the counter that hardly makes a difference, there’s draught beer, white wine and an LGBT flag behind the bottles. And boy, is that a nice thing to see.
Amongst all this, there’s also music, of course. Let’s not forget that. We heard it through the grapevine that anybody who wishes to let their talent shine is welcomed to do soand entertain the habitués that quickly crowd the place.
Then there are those who sit outside and gather around an electricity box, sit on the steps smoking a joint and those who lean against the fence of the park just opposite the bar with a glass of wine.
All of this might seem a little too bohemian, decadent even, but going to that Alfama street is a no less interesting experience than what would have been being Poe’s Man of The Crowd.
Maybe to Madonna, the best thing about Tejo bar was the fact that she didn’t feel herself while she was there, but just a woman next door who’d just moved to town and happened to know how to sing.
In case you’re wondering whether Tejo Bar is worth a visit, I couldn’t stress more that it is. You’ll be welcomed just like you went there every night. Have a little chat with the person who’s behind the counter while you wait for a cool draught beer and have a seat. Inside, if you can stand the heat and find a spot or outside, in case you arrive long after 10 pm. What matters is that you enjoy the music and the intriguing, captivating atmosphere.
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