Belgians Near Barcelos

We drove past a handful of tavernas, looking for something a bit more than what we called the “one-bulb bar,” dimly lit by a single florescent light hanging on a twisty wire, with a grim trio of customers inevitably looking over dark mustaches and glasses of beer at our passing.

We’ve actually spent a fine night or two at such places, the warm welcome within belying the slightly intimidating first impression. It’s no problem at all to open a big bag of chips on the bar, take a deep pull on the imperial in front of you, light up a rolly (in careless violation of EU smoking laws), and pay 2 euros for a bottle of local vinho to go.

But that night we needed a little more sustenance than a tube of Pringles (the truly international snack). So when the glow spilled out of Café Romao in Forjães on that Friday night, we parked the car in a quiet spot so the pups could sleep, and trekked across the street to what awaited inside.

Ah! No average cervejaria this, with a Belgian quad on tap and several more interesting bottles lining the shelves above the bar. We ordered 4-euro franchesinha burgers (topped with egg, ham, and special sauce), and I tucked into a deep bowl of the quad.

What lies inside that taverna? One never knows ’til you venture in.

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