The Baltic music scene is picking up speed. They’ve got soul vocalists, beat-makers, rockers, DJs wearing cat masks, slow vibrations, fast accelerations and 1990s BPM. Some of the most notable producers are millennials, which means the scene is also young. While Latvia is a small Baltic country tucked in beside Russia, their lively nightlife sheds light on local DJs, home-grown record labels and a thriving electronic music scene, as well as jazz trios and rock bands. Here are the top places to see live music in Riga:
This place is known locally as Club Piens ("piens" is milk in Latvian). Tucked away in a quiet corner of the city, this nightclub has techno DJs that spin until the wee hours. Club Piens is far from the city’s central Old Town, so you'll have to take a cab. For old-school music lovers, there vinyl-only nights and, on Wednesdays, there's a late-night wine, dinner and DJ special at the club’s cafe. It's also a great place to meet locals.
Set in the heart of Old Riga, Moonshine is an, American-themed jazz club. This two-floor venue is a shrine to 1940s jazz, and there's a diner-style restaurant on the ground floor that serves hamburger, fries, and steak — just look for the big blue Cadillac parked in the lobby, and signs pointing to Route 66. Upstairs, the jazz club has a stage and regular performances by locals.
For a wild Saturday night, look no further. Kalku Varti, also known as Club KV, is a local nightclub known for its rooftop bar and eclectic DJs who mix disco, house and techno. Often, there is free entrance. There's also a Nordic-inspired restaurant on most evenings — try the sparkling wine.
Daile Music House
This century-old venue is hailed as one of the oldest venues in Riga: walking in feels like walking back in time. With a 400-seat auditorium, this cinema turned music venue hosts everything from classical concerts to pop shows and live theatre. It’s at the core of Riga’s culture scene.
Star Lounge Bar
For a stellar view of Riga, grab a pre-drink here before bar hopping across the city. Or, stop by for coffee on a Sunday afternoon. Although Star is located inside the Albert Hotel, you don't have to be a guest to visit. It’s worth a visit entirely for the view, though the local DJs set the tone for a chill, downtempo vibe.
Known as one of Riga’s first-ever concert halls, the Palladium has locals playing their latest music a few times a week. It's worth a visit to the venue, which was established in 1913, for its futuristic design and the round, cavernous concert space, which has a second-floor balcony. Acts such as FM Belfast and the Kaiser Chiefs have played here.
Set inside of an old, abandoned brewery, this is where one can find a variety of trendy events, from old school arcade game battles to techno DJs to nights devoted to Afro and Brazilian music. Known as the hipster paradise of Riga, so if you’re looking for the underground hub where youngsters congregate, look no further. In the summer, expect open air concerts and a sprawling beer garden, in the winter, see live acts tucked inside a cavernous space with warm drinks and a chill vibe.
If you’re a fan of rockabilly beyond Elvis Presley, this is the place for a raucous night of rock music, and it’s a great excuse to get to the centre of the Old Town and see the lovely Livu square. This 1950s-themed venue has its staff dressed up like something out of Grease, as are its musicians. Try the local Latvian beer on tap.
Četri Balti Krekli
Beyond a pair of double wooden doors, there is one of Riga's most legendary venues. Cozy inside, this is the place to see new acts if you’re a fan of folk, rock, and indie pop. However, there is a dress code: no sneakers. This is the place to see Latvia’s most famous artists and writers speak and perform most days of the week. There are themed parties for Christmas and Halloween, and a rotation of DJs every weekend, so expect to get your groove on.
Ready to check out Riga's nightlife? G Adventures can get you there. Check out our Baltic Adventure tour here.