An off-the-map bar in Portugal

Spontaneity leads to a memorable travel experience.

Taberna Corta

I’ll admit it, I’m a planner. When we visit a new city, there’s so many things to see and eat (and drink.) I always have a list of places to visit and, inevitably, we don’t have time to see them all.

Sampling some wine at Taberna Corta (image: Karen L. Campopiano)

That said, no matter how busy we are trying to get to our next destination, I really try to leave myself open to spontaneous adventures.

Case in point; Taberna Corta.

This hole in the wall, some would say dive bar, in the city of Guimarães, Portugal isn’t in any guide, printed or online. In fact, it’s so under the radar that it’s not even on Google Maps. When we tried to return after our first visit, it took us a half hour of wandering around to find it again!

Karen first spotted Taberna Corta on our way to dinner. The palce looked so cool and rustic we had to stop in for a drink.

I ordered “uma copo de vinho tinto,” a glass of red wine. What I got was literally a cup, like a teacup, filled with a very young red wine. It was probably Vinho Verde, the wine of the region which has a charming effervescence. Vinho Verde is usually white, but there are red and rose varietals as well.

Literally a Cup of Wine at Taberna Corta (photo: Brent Petersen)

I think the bartender and patrons were curious about us. We were the only tourists in the bar and certainly the only Americans. We received inquisitive looks and everyone was happy to talk with us.

Sipping ,my wine outside, we started talking with a local who told us he liked this bar. Then he told us about the local soccer club. He was very proud of his team.

Then I asked about the team from Braga, a club a few miles away. He practically spit his disdain for them, as if I asked a Red Sox fan about the Yankees. At least that’s what I think we were talking about; my Portuguese is rudimentary, at best.

Was it the best wine I’ve ever had? No. But, the experience will always be part of our fond memories of Guimarães.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides in Portugal to Lisbon, PortoSintraÉvoraBragaLouléAlmadaMonsaraz, and Batalha. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms.

Author: Brent