Riga is a great city for nightlife. Its bars and clubs are open later than those of other major European capital cities, and revelers take full advantage of this extra time. There are a variety of pubs, live music venues and nightclubs scattered around the city. The cosmopolitan vibe and selection of funky nightspots make Riga an obvious stop for nightlife aficionados. The cosmopolitanism also makes Riga a great place for food lovers. Huge buffets, an assortment of international eateries, and some great fine dining establishments give Riga an outstanding restaurant scene that can appease any taste.
Whether you want to eat and drink your way through the Baltic’s best city or you simply want to sample all the nighttime fun that Riga has to offer, these places are worthy of a spot on your nighttime and mealtime itinerary.
Nightclubs and dancing in Riga
Riga is known throughout Europe for its energetic nightlife, and the best place to experience this energy is at the city’s nightclubs. These venues stay open late and cater to young revelers and experienced party-goers alike. The best place to start your after-dark Riga adventure is at Essential (recently closed and reopened as El Divino), a large club that draws the city’s “beautiful people.” Whenever internationally-famous DJs play in Latvia, they stop at this club for a t least one set. The Orange Bar, meanwhile, serves up some less-mainstream nighttime fun, with a decidedly alternative attitude. More low-key venues like Spalvas Pa Gaisu also offer some nighttime fun, catering to a slightly older crowd. Even at places like this, the party can carry on well into he night.
For a slightly some more low-key (but still exciting) nighttime fun, tourists can head to Riga’s many bars and pubs. Some bars have funky themes, but most lack pretension. Skābene is one such place, favored by locals who want to avoid the Old Town’s tourist-filled pubs. This place has darts and snooker and a penchant for old school ska music. A venue known as B Bars, meanwhile, is known for serving up mugs of hot drinks made with a rather-potent Latvian liquor called Balzams. Themed bars like the Cuba Cafe and Mojo Cafe Bar are usually quite crowded on weekends, and are a greagt place to enjoy the nighttime buzz without having to embark on an all-out clubbing expedition.
Music, of the non-rock variety, is performed nightly all around Riga. The Latvian National Symphony plays their concerts at the Great Guild, a glimmering concert hall that was originally constructed in the 14th Century. The smaller Wagner Hall regularly hosts classical music soloists and small chamber music groups. The Bites Blūzs Klubs, meanwhile, gives non-classical fans something to see in a bar setting. The blues performed here is the best in the Baltic.
Hearty Latvian food
Buffets are a popular style of eating in Riga, with a chain known as Lido providing some of the best buffet-style options. Dzirnavas is a good choice for tourists who are especially hungry after a day of sightseeing. Much of what’s on offer is typical of Latvian food: hearty, meat and potato-based dishes that will leave you full, in a very good way. Staburags is another Lido offering that features hearty meals and huge portions. The rustic atmosphere and traditional Latvian tunes create and interesting dining experience. One of the best values in town is Sievasmātes Pīrādziņi, a casual eatery serving hearty Latvian favorites to a mainly local clientele. The menu features piragi, traditional Latvian baked goods that consists of bread with a meat and vegetable filling. A number of different fillings can be used and this treat will leave whoever eats it full and satisfied.
Latvian food is hearty and many local restaurants offer good value, but that does not mean that Riga doesn’t have a fine dining scene. One especially interesting option is Vincent’s, an upscale, chef-driven restaurant with a classy atmosphere. By European standards, this is a top-notch place, but the prices are actually much lower than you’d pay for a similar experience in, say, Paris or London. Another upscale option is Bergs. This eatery has menus that change seasonally to take advantage of the freshest available ingredients. Most dishes on the menu are original, but have a mix of Latvian and European continental influences and flavors.