The Sky Bar was inaugurated in 2009, and at the time the event was described thus: “The spot that will mark the summer in the city of Lisbon opened on 16 June. The Sky Bar of O Terraço Restaurant, on the top floor of the Hotel Tivoli Lisboa, providing a stunning view over the city’s hills, the Serra da Arrábida mountains and the fantastic star-spangled summer nights.”
Eight years later, on 21 April 2017, the iconic Sky Bar has reopened its doors having been completely refurbished over five months at an investment of one million euros. For years the venue has marked Lisbon’s summer nights with its parties, sunsets, concerts and memorable nights, setting a trend as one of the fist rooftop nightspots in the Portuguese capital, leading to the sprouting of numerous terraces with splendid views all over the city.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
In the past, the Sky Bar opened only in summer, during the liveliest season, bookended either side by the large opening and closing parties, in the middle of May and in September respectively. Following the remodelling of the Hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade, the Sky Bar gained a new lease of life, and is now open all year round, every day from 5.00pm to 1.00am. To keep in step with these new opening hours, the refurbishment includes a roofed zone for the coldest and rainy winter months.
It is, however, in the physical surroundings that one fids most of the changes of this new Sky Bar. A curved staircase connects the bar entrance to the lower level, the first steps of which reveal stunning views of the city on the banks of the Tagus river. Between the first level of the bar and the lower deck an intermediate space was created, a VIP lounge that can be hired for private events and with special access. It can be considered your very own private suite at the Sky Bar.
With a predominantly white backdrop that uses simple materials such as wood, the Sky Bar needed a disruptive counterpoint to the minimalist ambience of the rest of the venue. As such, and to mark it out as a place that blends timelessness with the contemporary, two transport containers where mounted one on top of the other, which are now the WCs of this rooftop bar. In one fell swoop a shortfall was addressed – previously customers had to return to the hotel to go to the WC – and the amenities add aesthetic value to the venue thanks to an urban artist who was invited to work on the containers. Luio Zau, a portuguese artist, produced a wonderful explosion of energy and colour with his only intervention in Lisbon.
Changes have also been made to the menu. Some of the traditional items are retained, such as the “share with friends” cocktails, pitchers of mojito, caipirinha and other drinks that invite socialising at the end of epic afternoons. The wine list has been extended and improved to cater for both the hotel guests and the general public. As for culinary suggestions, the mandatory Skyburger and Prego Sky (steak) remain on the menu, but it is precisely here that the range of options has been augmented. To begin with, the Pastrami Sky sandwich, made with coleslaw, is on a par with the best on offr one may find in New York. The menu also introduces two completely new sections: the “Between Dishes” where one finds the Tartar Taco with Confi Egg, Mustard and Truffl White Fish Ceviche, Dried Tomato, Wakame and Tiger’s Milk. And while we’re talking about tastes of the sea, the main new food section comprises the Sushi Combinations, prepared by sushi chef João Pinto, who is in charge the sushi counter of the Cervejaria Liberdade and who has an extensive CV that includes twelve years in Midori (Penha Longa Resort) and experience gained working in Japanese restaurants in Osaka (Japan) and Norway.
WHO IS LUIO ZAU?
Luio Zau is the most recent alter ego of the artist chosen to work on the Sky Bar containers. Born in Bragança and living in Porto, this portuguese artist has gone through several artistic phases. First was Luio Triplex, than Luio Onassis, who “died” in August 2016. Luio Zau was “born” in 2010, in Funchal, in Madeira Island, last October. His work includes designing music disk covers, the painting of a Mini, which later the Mini/BMW make itself tried to purchase to exhibit in its museum in Munich. Also under his alter ego Luio Onassis, he oversaw the opening catwalk run at Lisbon Fashion Week, customising clothes designed by talented young fashion artists in sketch form only. Currently, Luio Zau is part of the Kuka Robotics project, which seeks to teach robots to draw by imitating the movements of the artist.
Zau is a new dynasty in Luio’s artistic career, an evolutionary leap from the previous alter egos. Luio began by studying architecture and only started painting in 2010. That was when he created his fist alter ego: Luio Triple X. Onassis, who came next, was more influenced by the cubists and impressionists. It was also in this phase that action painting began to play a big role in his work and which ushered in a new artistic phase. Luio Zau is the culmination of this learning timeline. Luio is at a place where he creates on the spur of the moment, spontaneously and in loco.
In his own words: “I arrive and I do. Zau! Zau! Zau!”
After completing his work on the two Sky Bar containers, the finished product was presented on 22 April at an event during which Luio walked out of one of the WCs wearing a bathrobe to the sound of a drummer who was performing on site.