One of the most iconic establishments in Silves is preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary on Friday (June 30).
Café Inglês is more than just a café. For 40 years, this multifaceted venue has been serving delicious food whilst also being a cultural hub for live music and local art and welcoming clients from all over the globe.
Bordering the walls of Silves Castle, Café Inglês is located within a 19th century building brimming with history. While many may know the café mostly (or exclusively) for its outdoor terrace located on the stairs leading to the castle, Café Inglês also has a rooftop boasting stunning views of Silves and the Arade River, as well as a garden and a Moroccan tent.
Owner Susan Keene (better known as Suzy) discovered the building while visiting Silves during a holiday with her mother in 1980.
“We were visiting the castle when I noticed the building and saw it had a sign reading ‘Vende-se’ (For sale). I didn’t speak Portuguese at the time but was able to make out the meaning from Latin,” Suzy told the Resident.
After knocking on the door and getting a look at the building from the inside, Suzy knew that her life was about to change.
“We got a power of attorney (to buy the building) as we were due to fly back to the UK the next day,” Suzy told us.
Three years later, Café Inglês opened its doors for the first time. The name was suggested by Suzy’s mother, who ran guesthouses back in the UK, as a way of attracting British clients.
“More than great food”
From the very start, Suzy knew that she wanted Café Inglês to be more than just a café that served food.
“I am a server. It is what I was sent here to do. I can look at someone and tell immediately if they are happy or sad, or if they did not like our food, which practically never happens,” Suzy said.
From mouthwatering pizzas to pastas, salads and a wide range of Portuguese dishes, steaks and other delectable options, Café Inglês is also known for its regional homemade cakes and desserts.
“But I’m not satisfied with just serving great food. Music, art… that is me. It’s who I am,” Suzy told us.
Her vision for the establishment was also helped by the fact that the building is the “perfect live music venue.”
From jazz to jam sessions, funk and rock, Café Inglês has live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Paintings and other artistic works are also exhibited inside the café, as Suzy likes to shine the spotlight on the talent of the artists who catch her eye.
“Silves is the jewel of the Algarve”
Being located in Silves is another factor that has helped the café’s longevity throughout the years.
“For me, Silves is the jewel of the Algarve,” Suzy said. “It is still preserved as a Portuguese town and has not lost its identity to tourism.”
The town’s beautiful scenery can be viewed from the building’s rooftop, which is currently closed but has been the setting for many events over the years.
The café’s garden and Moroccan tent are also used during the summer months for special occasions, while Café Inglês can also be booked as a wedding venue.
40th anniversary party
To celebrate its milestone anniversary, Café Inglês has prepared a special 40th anniversary party on June 30 at 10pm.
The party will have a 1980’s theme and dress code as well as DJ Luís Palma providing musical entertainment.
Invitations are being made to the café’s most loyal clients, while clients at the café on the day may also be invited if there is enough space.
“We have three or four generations of clients who have been coming here over the years and we want to guarantee their access to the event,” said Carlos Augusto, the manager at Café Inglês.