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Entertainment & Nightlife in Latvia


Folk music is popular in Latvia, and there is a variety of folk groups-men, women, mixed-some featuring various traditional instruments, some including dance in their repertoires. Choral singing is a specialty of the country, and international song festivals are held every few years in the early summer when tens of thousands of Latvians from all over the world come to sing together.

Beer, the most popular alcoholic beverage in Latvia, is excellent. Beers, such as Aldaris, Līvu, and Senču can be bought almost anywhere. A special 'live beer' like Užavas can be found in selected pubs and restaurants. Don't forget to try the locally distilled Black Balsam (Rīgas Melnais Balzams). It's a strong (45%) infusion of various herbs, roots, and spices.


Riga is a very lively and modern city and it leaves a colourful and interesting life. Although the city gets quieter for the cold winter periods, it gets very active when spring comes. Riga offers a rich variety of entertainment places and activities for any season. Riga is a major nightlife destination for tourists and bars here are often open later than those in other European cities.

Riga has a number of theatres the main of which is the Latvian National Opera. In the Soviet times the Soviet Union's strongest ballet school was based there. Today it is also a popular venue for a night out. It often hosts foreign singers and dancers. Many Moscow theatrical stagings are presented to Riga public there.

While there are still some dodgy bars around, there are probably more good bars per city block in Riga than in the other two Baltic capitals.

There are small bars where live jazz and rock is played. After nearly two decades of capitalism and double-digit inflation, some Latvians are looking back to the past. Leningrad is a bar with a retro Soviet interior of assorted communist relics and even period furniture is as good a place as any to enjoy a drink. The beer might not be as cheap as it was in Gorbachev’s time, but for Old Riga the local Brengulis and Czech Kozel are remarkably affordable. The beefy bartender with the shaved head and trimmed beard looks like Lenin on steroids.

Apart from that there are numerous night clubs, such as Nautilus Nightclub and Essential Club. Pulkvedis is a trendy place popular with a younger crowd. The basement offers techno-ish and/or alternative sounds. Upstairs which is the busiest area with a mix of pop/dance occasional rock music. It is a very busy place on Thurs/Fri/Sat and is closed on Sunday.

There are also great festivals including Saulkrasti Jazz.