Most of you will ask where are the good pubs, bars, cafes and clubs in Riga? There are many to chose from and we are listing some here that will suite all tastes.
Not all of them we like ourselves so hopefully we can describe them as they are so you can make your own minds up.
I Love You
Yes, I love you too, but where can I have a drink on a comfortable couch whilst listening to some hip indie rock tunes or checking out an emerging Baltic band? I Love You of course. A cosy two level bar popular with musically hip young Latvians and a good food selection. Order a plate of the best ‘gradziņi’ (crunchy dark garlic bread ) to accompany your drink.
Aldaru iela 9/1. +371 67225309
Many establishments have occupied these premises and Zapte (jam in Latvian) is the latest, having graced us with their cheap booze and 90s throwback tunes for the last couple of years. These guys don’t mess around when it comes to drinking – where else really can you order a 3 litre pitcher of rum and coke for the price of a dinner in some of Old Town restaurants. Zapte is located opposite the Erasmus students’ stronghold French bar, making it a good place to start or more likely end your pub crawl. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Mazā Monētu Street 5
Aussie Backpackers Pub
There are a few things that Aussies do better than others, playing cricket, running hostels and drinking beer. Actually, the last one’s not really true, especially if you’ve ever been to the the Czech Republic, but those folk from down-under do like an ice-cold beer. The Aussie Backpackers Pub in Old Riga is a little slice of the sunburnt country here in Riga. With a quirky wooden interior, a VW Campervan as the bar and a very large range of beers on tap, this pub is one of the nicest establishments in Old Riga to enjoy a drink or two. The prices are great for its location and there is a range of weekly events, activities, performances and so on.
Riga’s only Australian pub does not just offer drinks and an inflatable crocodile, the space also doubles up as a hostel as well. There are a couple of floors dedicated to sleeping quarters, perfect for backpacking Aussies, Kiwis, Poms and other nationalities. A great, central spot to stay with the bonus of having a pub attached! The pub itself is spread on two floors with a basement is used for concerts, sumo fights and other events. The toilets are also worth a look, although after all that beer you won’t really need an excuse. Maybe it’s the long winters and the lack of summer here in Latvia, but Riga’s Aussie bar has become popular not just with travellers, but also with the locals as well.
43 Vaļņu Iela
+371 6722 3406
Open: Thur – Sat: 10am – 3am
Sun – Wed: 10am – 2am
Paddy Whelan’s Irish Pub & Sports Bar
The Oldest Irish Pub in Old Riga, once popular with international businessmen travelling to Riga in 1990s when there really weren’t many alternatives for tourists and other non-locals, has become a popular place to catch a game of football and grab yourself some curry (they are well aware of what’s the most popular dish right now in the British Isles) in a traditional pub setting. Play some darts, have a Guinness and immerse yourself in the long (for Latvia) history of this legendary place where Shane MacGowan from The Pogues paid a visit during his stay in Riga.
Grēcinieku Street 4, Old Riga
Phone: +371 67210150
Open daily: 11:00 – 01:00
Friday, Saturday: 11:00 – 03:00
Sunday: 11:00 – 24:00
The dinosaur of Riga’s alternative music scene, Depo is as dirty and grungy as all good rock bars should be. Its impressive role call keeps growing as bands from all around Latvia, the Baltic Sea and the world continue to grace the cavernous concert hall. In the next room dance away to the latest rock and indie tunes with similarly minded kids. Check the webpage for upcoming concerts.
Vaļņu iela 32. +371 67220114
Latvian alternative scene’s stronghold in Old Town since the fall of Nabaclub(once the main party place now shares some of their premises with Subway) has still stayed loyal to its regular crowd and maintain it “by locals for locals” image. Don’t expect to see large crowds here unless a famous local DJ is playing or they have announced a secret gig, it’s a pretty laid back space selling some good beer and cocktails. One of the rare places to try our favourite Latvian microbrew Malduguns.
Mazā Miesnieku Iela 1
Located just on the corner of St. Peter’s church in Riga’s Old Town, next to Indian Raja restaurant, Kiwi is a sports bar showing all the important rugby games and more. A popular place with the local Anglophone expat community and travellers alike, it offers a summer terrace and plenty of TVs around the space to not miss any moment of the game. During lucky hours get a pint for a ridiculous 1.75 EUR, order food from the Indian joint next door or a la carte from their own menu and kick it with the lads.
Skārņu Street 7
La Belle Époque
Without a doubt the French Bar, as it’s known here in Riga, has been the Erasmus student’s and young local’s favourite since as long as we here at EAT Riga can remember. The eclectic and friendly mix of people and the low prices(at least for the Old Town) mean it’s packed pretty much every day from September to May, it’s shoe-box size might also account for that.
Open every day until 6AM, Thursday to Saturday until 7AM and selling 1 EUR beers during their lucky hours it has proven itself as the city’s number one watering hole if you’re in your early twenties and study. Or if you’re someone who enjoys the company of aforementioned crowd and are not too picky about your beer. Have a drink on the cheap and practice your Spanish at the same time.
Mazā Monētu iela 8
+371 67 220 353
Sun – Wed: 5PM – 6AM
Thu-Sat: 4PM – 7AM
Ala Folk Club
Riga’s first folk club has moved to a new underground location. The huge beer selection, the folk dancing and live music performances and the great authentic food that made it so popular have, thankfully remained. If you want to get a real look and feel of Latvian culture and ethnic heritage, this is the place to come. If you’re lucky, some young knave or maiden may even take you for a spin on the dancefloor.
Peldu iela 19, +37127796914
If, for some strange reason, you desire your time in Latvia to be a little more English, then head straight to Victory Pub. A Latvian take on an English pub, it’s got good food, over 20 beers on tap, pool tables and of course football on TV.
Tirgoņu iela 13. +371 29228310
Riga’s Irish bar. Irish drinks, Irish people, Indian food? Well, why not. If you’ve been to an Irish pub anywhere outside of Ireland you know what to expect; sport, Guinness posters, drunken Brits & Irish and the occasional bit of karaoke.
Grēcinieku iela 4. +371 67210249
Though drinks are expensive, the service not so wonderful and clientele consists mostly of tourists, this bar does have one thing going for it to make it worth a visit. Located on the 26th floor of the Hotel Latvia, the Skyline Bar simply has the best views of Riga. Drink your slightly overpriced beverage and watch the sun go down over the Daugava river.
Elizabetes iela 55. +371 67772282
If cocktails and salsa is your thing, then this is the bar for you. One of Riga’s longest running and best loved bars, its central location in Dome Square means it’s always busy. Arrive early for happy hour, and spend the night drinking Mojitos and avoiding the young couples throwing themselves around to the Latino beats.
Jauniela 15. +371 67224362
Having a drink in this bar is like having a drink in someone’s living room, albeit someone’s living room in Riga, 40 years ago. From the couches to the books; from the record collection and the music playing to the clientele, it doesn’t get more retro Latvian than this. Try the Brengalu unfiltered beer, unlike any beer you have ever tasted. Possibly our favourite place to drink in Riga
Tērbatas 56. +371 67275662
Kaļķu Vārti (Lime Gates)
Dine in style in the ground level restaurant, descend into the basement nightclub for a drink and a dance and finish the evening in the chill-out area watching watching the parade of punters flowing down Kaļķu iela. Good food and free entrance to the nightclub.
Kaļķu iela 11a. +371 67224576
Riga’s student radio station evolves into a bar/club/creative space with daily happenings. Check out a concert, some theatre, short films or DJs in the two halls, drink a beer at one of the two bars, smoke in the open air beer garden and browse for some vintage fashions in ‘Retro Spectro.’
Z.A. Meierovica bulv. 12.
One of the best and friendliest bars in Riga, drink your medicine amongst old bottles and pill-filled tables in this pharmacy themed bar in the Old Town. A casual attitude and amicable staff make this a great place for a drink. But the highlight is definitely the old school jukebox allowing to soundtrack your evening.
Maza Miesnieku iela 1. +371 27830077
Can’t get a visa to Russia? Then head to the next best thing, Riga’s soviet themed bar. Decked out like a babushka’s apartment, overflowing with punks, anarchists and other friendly characters and now also serving food, Leningrad is an experience like no other in Riga (in a good way).
Krišjāņa Valdemāra iela 4, +37129915049
Trendy cellar near the Powder Tower that fills up with hip young Latvians in the evenings. Short drinks are, as you would expect, their speciality. Also food and not very good coffee during the day.
Torņa iela 4. +371 67224165
Also we ourselves offer Riga Beer & Balsam Tour – if you want to explore Riga, hear some stories and taste some local beers and drinks.