While Riga’s cultural history made it European Capital of Culture a few years ago, the town is also beloved by travelers for its nightlife. Most bars are in the Old Town but new trendy establishments are now increasingly popping up all over the place, and it can be difficult to choose that perfect spot to meet locals, have a drink, or just enjoy a quiet evening with friends. To simplify matters, here we profile the top 10 bars in Riga.
For a rustic Latvian experience in the heart of Riga, head to the “folk club” ALA Pagrabs, a surprisingly gigantic bar and restaurant entirely underground (pagrabs means basement). The long wooden table which guests share, Eastern European snacks and dishes, and labyrinthine layout with cozy nooks and crannies call to mind an old-time tavern, something the management is keen to encourage by organizing folk concerts and dances. ALA’s main asset is its selection of 28 beers on tap, the largest in Riga.
A legendary bar in the Old Town, Rock Café has it all: a place to sit down for a drink but also a busy dance floors with a variety of music (including live concerts), a pool room, and karaoke, the only problem being choosing a song from the huge list of available titles! It is extremely lively, especially on Saturday nights, but the atmosphere is friendly and it is very easy to start chatting to just about anyone. Its proximity to the center and most of the city’s hostels make it especially convenient.