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Lagos, Portugal - Casa Rosa and Joe's Garage

By Rick Chapo

If you're a budget traveler or backpacking Europe, Lagos is a cheap slice of paradise. Casa Rosa is the place for general sustenance, while Joe's Garage is a place to let go.

Casa Rosa

Casa Rosa claims to be the haven for backpackers in Lagos. The more you travel, the more you know such claims are rarely true. With Casa Rosa, however, I can confirm the claim is true. This hole in the wall served heaping mounds of the food of the day for really cheap prices. It was packed with backpackers, which made it a good place to meet people and exchange war stories.

I haven't been to Portugal for four years, so I have to attach a caveat to recommending Casa Rosa. When I first visited Casa Rosa in the 1990's, it was owned by a couple of Brits, who were apparently trying to sell it. I dropped in twice in subsequent years and they were still there and still trying to sell it. Whether this ever occurred, I can't really say so keep in mind there may be a new owner or the place may not exist at all.

Joe's Garage

In every town or city, there is one "underground night spot you just have to visit. Of course, you first have to find out about it and then figure out where it is. People "in the know typically heavily guard this information. For years, Joe's Garage has been such a place in Lagos.

The recommend attire for Joe's Garage is a bathing suit, t-shirt and flip flops. The place appears to have no ventilation whatsoever and is insanely hot. Turning a negative into a positive, the owners have a strong water policy. Water shoots out of the ceiling, mouths of statutes on the wall and water guns expertly aimed by bartenders. If you were glasses, just leave them at home.

Joe's is open from around ten in the evening until the hour you stagger out. It is located on Rua Primiero de Mayo, but don't bother writing that down. The place has so little signage that you could be standing in front and completely miss it. The best way to find it is to follow the late night crowd as they begin filing out of the bars around midnight.

Lagos is an ideal spot for budget travelers. The town is has beaches, nightlife and is cheap. Enjoy!


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