Riga holidays

Riga cafe bars

TravelSavvy guide to city breaks in Riga Latvia

Did you know?

The area of Latvia totals 64,000sq km with 500km of coastline

Double Coffee is a very popular chain of coffee shops

Latvian beer is often synonymous with the Aldaris brand

Latvia has a good mulled wine called karstvins

Cafes & Bars on a Riga city break

They say there wasn't much else to do in Riga under the Communist regime than drink yourself stupid, so it's perhaps hardly suprising that the city has a vibrant cafe and bar culture.

Riga boasts a bar or cafe on almost every street corner, especially in the Old Town, and some of them are on a par with the best bars in Europe. They range from bog standard street pubs to heavy music clubs and raging discos,

Bars usually offer a large selection of spirits, long drinks and cocktails with a few tasty snacks to indulge yourself. While some are aimed at the lunchtime crowd, with snacks and sandwiches, others aim for night-time party animals with live music.

Riga has little problem meeting the varied demands of visitors, from family outings to gangs of stag nighters. It's mostly a matter of deciding where to spend your money. And as the city is easily small enough to cover on foot there is no drink-drive brake to dampen the spirits.

Riga bar scams

With so many bars and so many visitors competition is fierce but so are the scams. Look out for waitresses that demand cash up front for making a reservation.

Many incidents are reported of tourists being charged extortionate prices for drinks, with some being assaulted, threatened or forced to withdraw money from cash points to pay inflated bills. Local police have been unable or unwilling to help.

The US Embassy has a long list of bars and clubs that it has placed off-limits to staff. They are described as "notorious for credit card fraud, extortion scams, prostitution rings and violence".

Riga cafes

It has to be said that Riga has some of the best cafes to be found in the Baltics with pleasant interiors, decent food and good coffee and pastries. Many cafes in Riga are also open for breakfast.

Some recommended cafes and bars are:

Cuba Cafe - Located near Dome Square this has Latino-style music. DJ nights are advertised at the weekends and the food leans towards the Mexican.

Skyline Bar - Riga's most famous bar is on the 26th floor of the Reval Hotel and boasts panoramic city views from the large windows with spectacular sunsets over the Riga skyline - hence the name. It's a mandatory stop on the well-travelled tourist routes and can get very crowded. Expect a long wait to get served at the bar.

Coffee and Lunch - Located on Albert Street - noted for its Art Nouveau buildings - this cafe has gained a reputation among trendy young Rigans. Friendly waitresses and delicious food help while its sophisticated sandwiches are considered the best you can buy. The interior has photos of the city's picturesque façades and lighting is supplied by antique street lamps.

I Love You - This cafe bar leads a double life. A relatively tourist-free cafe by day, it turns into an indie music hangout at night. Great bar staff and laid back Riga locals.

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TravelSavvy city breaks in Riga