Eeva Tuuhea remembers the precise moment when she received a friend’s phone call telling her that the Hot Clube de Portugal, an iconic Lisbon jazz joint since the 1940s and her beloved regular hangout for two decades, was on fire — literally.
“It was a rainy night, the 22nd of December, 2009, at 3 a.m.,” recalled Ms. Tuuhea, a blond, middle-aged Finnish expat who said she has been “part of the furniture” at the Hot Clube since the late 1980s.
“I was called and came down to see it; 8,500 hearts broke on Facebook, and God knows how many besides that,” she said.
The fire and subsequent flooding by the fire department destroyed the building. The Hot Clube went cold. But the mourning period was short. The city government pledged to help, putting up money and installing the club in a small building just a few doors down from the original, overlooking the once-seedy and now trendy Praça de Alegria.
Completed in 2011 and reopened officially last year, the relaunched Hot Clube de Portugal is back in business with a full assortment of local and international live acts. On a balmy fall evening last year, any fears that Hot Clube 2.0 wouldn’t match the heat of its beloved predecessor had apparently been assuaged. A full spectrum of fans, from college students to suited young professionals to longtime regulars in their 40s and 50s, was packed around the low tables of the windowless concert area.