NOTE: “Dar a Sola” is moving location, soon I will update the location and update the post.
“Dar a Sola” is a Portuguese expression that means “make a run for it”; Essentially the space is a cultural association that promotes local culture, concerts and various activities. The reason that it is worth mentioning is due to its Friday nights of “Fado Vadio”. They normally start at 16:30 and finish at 19:30, but I recommend that you get there at 16:00 if you want to get a table. The place gets pretty packed since it is very popular.
“Fado Vadio” means “Stray Fado”, in other words street Fado. This is due to the fact that anyone can sing if they wish to, and you don’t need to be formally trained to stand up and sing, the only criteria is that you have a love for Fado and that the music comes from the heart. If you really decide to sing, it is better to arrive early, ask if the guitarists knows the Fado song you wish to sing and put your name on the list by talking to the host.
This Fado experience is a must, as the atmosphere there is incomparable to any other Fado Vadio place in Porto. The reason for this is because of the audience; there is a mixture of local old timers, young locals, Erasmus students and the occasional tourists, as well as foreigners that have lived here for some time already. This mix is imperative to the atmosphere that is created, an example of this, is that I have witnessed a Spanish, Brazilian and a Polish singers singing Portuguese Fado.In Terms of food and drink, there are various options even for a vegetarian, since the owners of the association are also involved in a vegetarian restaurant, close to Ribeira. Beer is one euro and a glass of wine is 80 cents and food-wise they always have fish and veggie pies as well as fried fish cakes. They also serve what is called a “punheta de bacalhau” literally translated its is a “cod fish hand-job”. Please don’t be put off by the name, because its actually really tasty, it consists of a codfish salad with onion, olive oil, olives and a paprika sauce. I have had these in various places and this is the closest flavor I have had to the one my grandma used to make. For dessert you can always go for the classic “Romeu e Julieta” (Romeo and Juliette) that consists of cheese and marmalade. This is a classic salt & sweet combination that never fails to surprise you with its simplicity.
You cannot have a proper meal here, you go there mostly to drink, listen to Fado and snack on some things if you get hungry. Be prepared to witness some verbal exchange of offenses when the Fado singers disagree with each other, this is part of the atmosphere since Fado is still very traditional and competitive, and there are also some rules to follow if you don’t want to be embarrassed by the public; never wear a hat inside when someone is singing, be careful not to walk in front of the Fado singer when he/she is singing (it is better to wait until the song is over for you to pass) and generally keep quiet when a song is in course otherwise you will have people telling you to shut up. The best advice for this place is, shake a hand make a friend and enjoy the music.
Address: Rua dos Caldeireiros, nº204,
“Fado Vadio” schedule: Friday between 16:30 – 19:30