The Café A Brasileira, (“The Brazilian Lady Café”) is a café at 120 Rua Garrett (at one end of the Largo do Chiado in the district of the same name), in the civil parish of Sacramento, near the Baixa-Chiado metro stop and close to the University.
Over time the space became the meeting point for intellectuals, artists, writers and free-thinkers weathering financial difficulties and finally a tourist attraction, as much as another coffee shop.
Opened on November 19, 1905, in Chiado, in a space that was once a shirt shop, A Brasileira was created by Adriano Telles, a former Portuguese emigrant to Brazil, who married the daughter of one of the largest coffee producers in the region. of Minas Gerais. Back in Portugal, he started selling coffee, a drink that was unknown until then and little appreciated because of the bitter taste that characterized it. Aware of the issues that prevented his customers from enjoying Brazilian coffee, he implemented the idea of creating an establishment that would allow him to prove the quality of the product, distributing it free of charge, by the cup, as a form of promotion.
Designed by the architect Manuel Norte Júnior, one of the most notable architects of his generation and winner of five Valmor and Municipal Architecture Awards and two honorable mentions, the luxurious and Parisian-style façade project has become a hallmark of ‘The Brazilian. Classified, since 1997, as a property of public interest, it is today one of the oldest and one of the only three cafés in Lisbon that spanned the entire 20th century and remains open. In 2017, the Lisbon City Council distinguished the Brasileira with the “Lojas com História” award, awarded based on the cumulative interest of its activity, as well as the existence and preservation of material, cultural and historical heritage elements.
The long narrow hall includes mosaicked floors in alternating marble tiles (in black and white), a roof with ornamental friezes and square pillars along the walls, also decorated in sculpted wood. The room itself is painted in ochres, golds and reds, with brass fixtures intermingling with sculpted red woods. Between the pillars are mirrors, while at the far end of the café is a clock encased in a wooden decoration. The counter, is located on the right wall of the entranceway, while a staircase provides access to the kitchen located in the basement.
The sumptuous interior decoration made A Brasileira a space where the illustrious of the time gathered: lawyers, doctors, teachers, writers and artists. Revolutionaries who participated in the establishment of the republic in 1910 also met here.
With the freedom gained in the post-implementation period of the republic, and due to its privileged location, A Brasileira do Chiado became one of the busiest cafés in Lisbon at the time and was the scene of numerous intellectual, artistic, and literary gatherings. Renowned writers and artists such as Fernando Pessoa or Almada Negreiros found inspiration for paradoxical concepts and ideas in A Brasileira do Chiado.
Fernando Pessoa’s assiduity motivated the inauguration, in the 1980s, of the bronze statue by Lagoa Henriques, which represents the writer sitting at the table on the café terrace. With all the importance it had in the cultural life of the country, today it maintains its identity intact, either because of the specificity of its decoration, or because of the symbolism it represents because it is linked to circles of intellectuals.
Brasileira do Chiado has always been a truly iconic space in the city of Lisbon, earning its prominent position among the most emblematic places in Chiado, as one of the most visited and photographed in the entire city.
Brasileira do Chiado is a brand of Grupo O Valor do Tempo, since March 2020.