Quiosque de Refresco

Lisbon’s squares are populated by a key piece of urban architecture: the outdoor refreshment kiosk , and luckily, one with a view is never too far away!

The kiosks in Lisbon have been a staple of local culture since the XX century, be it as a gathering point for friends or just to enjoy a cool lemonade outside in the sun, and their revival has been underway since 2009. Retailer Catarina Portas of A Vida Portuguesa teamed up with João Regal from Deli Delux, to restore and run Kiosks all around town. Decades-old cast-iron decorations were preserved and their Quiosque de Refresco project reintroduced age-old Portuguese refreshments that had been replaced by soda and ice cream at other downtown booths.

Today, there’s fresh homemade lemonade and iced-tea, and every kid’s favourite; groselha. But that’s not all – our favourite treats include the ginjinha, bitter almond liqueur (perfect refreshment served with a lot of ice and drops of lemon on a hot day), capilé, Port wine, sweet moscatel from setúbal and mazagrã (coffee drink). The kiosks support Portuguese brands and offer a selection of fresh drinks, be them old, renewed or just newly-created. They brought back, for instance, the rich and creamy Orchata – one of the most popular refreshments in Lisbon in the XIX century, forever made popular in the works of Eça de Queiroz – made with almonds and sugar. Besides all the drinks, the menu also features a variety of sandwiches and pastries, for that extra bit of energy on-the-go.

Top Lisbon chef José Avillez has got in on the action too, with a replica 1960s-style stand just outside his newest gourmet eating place, Mini Bar. It sells sandwich wraps, cheeses and his line of local wines. Avillez says “Kiosks are part of urban living. They are perfect for our sunny weather.”

A little bit of history: The name literally means Refreshment Kiosk, and they’ve been around in France since 1620, first as a music venue and only later, in the late 1800’s, with the explosion of Art Noveau, as a way to decorate the streets and as little boutiques where you could buy flowers, tobacco, newspapers and refreshing drinks. The kiosk then became fashionable and made its way through Europe – arriving in Portugal in 1869 the form of Art Noveau twisted steel structures of oriental inspiration.

The locations are:

– Praça de São Paulo

– Praça Luís de Camões

– Praça do Príncipe Real

– Praça das Flores

* Photos by Richard John Seymour https://twitter.com/RichJohnSeymour