When Emanuel Minez and Paulo Gomes opened Red Frog in 2015, little could they have imagined that their cocktail bar would come to be regarded as one of the best bars in the world, ranked no less than number 40 by the prestigious publication World’s 50 Best Bars.
Although it did not take long for Red Frog Speakeasy to start winning national and international awards and recognition, the pandemic in 2020 was a turning point in their success, to the point that the bar’s demise was near. So near that its owners had to take drastic measures to ensure the survival of a business that had become an icon of Lisbon’s nightlife.
The most noticeable change to Red Frog was its location, abandoning its former premises to share a space with another one of the owners’ bars, Monkey Mash. Hidden at the back and camouflaged within the latter, Red Frog took up residence, bringing to mind the clandestine establishments of the 1920s during the Prohibition era in the United States.
If Red Frog was a turning point in Lisbon’s nightlife, its upgrade, Red Frog Speakeasy, has done what seemed impossible: improving upon the original formula. So much so that the World’s 50 Best, in its 2022 edition, ranked it among the 50 best bars in the world. This has undoubtedly been made possible by the mix of excellent cocktails on its menu, combining tradition and innovation and, above all, great imagination; the attentive, almost personalised service; the chic ambience (you can dress casually but not sporty, nor can you raise your voice or disturb the peace of other customers by making noise); the limited capacity, and the elegantly inviting decoration in the style of clubs from the late 1970s. And to round things off, a short menu featuring selected bar snacks that will delight any self-respecting mixologist. Just remember that once you enter, it will be hard to leave.