Lais de Guia is, like many eateries in Portugal, a café, a bar and a restaurant. Situated halfway along the beach in Matosinhos, Porto, surrounded by soft sand and often bathed in sunshine (except for the windy winter days), Lais de Guia has recently undergone a re-fit. Opened in 1996, the bar offers ample seating inside, with lots of tables out on the sun-deck, and a play area for kids.

Lais de Guia bar on Matosinhos beach

In 2010, the wooden building was completely refurbished – the doors and windows were all replaced, the flooring and the roof were renewed and the place was re-wired and a free-standing fireplace fitted. Where it was once chilly in winter to sit there more than half an hour, it’s now a joy with the real fire burning. However, whereas the smoking ban meant it was smoke free before the refit, Lais de Guia now allows indoor smoking in a designated area.

“Designated area”, in this case, means one third of the room is smoking and the rest is non smoking, meaning it is no longer a joy to sit inside with your children, unless you want to subject them to passive smoking. Such a shame as it spoils an otherwise wonderful venue.

In the morning, from 9am, you will see a handful of people with laptops,taking advantage of the free wifi, then the busy lunchtime crowd and, later on, coffee drinkers until the evening crowd turns into the nightlife crowd.

Lais de Guia is a convenient meeting place for people on the Matosinhos side of town. The food and drink is not the cheapest – because you are paying for beachfront location – but the service is great, the staff all friendly (and some speak English very well) and the food is good.

Click here to see Lais de Guia on Google Streetview (by road, you approach it from north to south, along a one-way street). There is some free parking on the street, and an underground pay car park opposite.

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