When it comes to a favourite cocktail bar there is one that stands out above all the rest. Quite literally stands out because it is on the 26th floor of the Hotel Latvia, which is the tallest building in Riga.
I have had the pleasure to go there several times but I am certain that I was there on 31st May 2006 because this was the date when my friend Nick Worth got hopelessly pissed.
The Skyline Bar is a great place to relax in the early evening after a day sight seeing and a good spot for watching the sun set. It’s also a place to be seen, and the modern, trendy furniture and décor suggests that there’s a level of exclusivity to this place which is in contrast to its total accessibility. Just wander in off the streets and take the external lift to the top and you are in the best cocktail bar in the city. One of the best views is from the men’s toilets where there is full length window and the panoramic view from is quite stunning but I don’t advise going in there with a camera as I did because you can get some very funny looks!
Getting one of the seats by the windows is essential but can be a chore when the place is busy and competition is fierce, and you really need one that looks to the west to enjoy the stunning view of the City and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral that stands nearby. Sometimes you have to wait and stay alert for window seat opportunities but it is worth the effort, especially if there is a sunset to be seen. With a view like this it really doesn’t matter when the service is slow.
It is supposedly designed to resemble a Manhattan bar but as I have never been to New York I am unable to confirm whether it has achieved this objective. The place has a relaxed atmosphere and a friendly ambience and it certainly doesn’t have Manhattan prices with generous cocktails costing on average only about £3.50. There are many suggestions for the origin of the word cocktail, almost as many as the choice of drinks available at the Skyline Bar. Some say that it was customary to put a feather, presumably from a cock’s tail, in the drink to serve both as decoration and to signal to teetotalers that the drink contained alcohol but my favourite is that after a cock fight it was customary to mix a drink with a different shot of alcohol for each remaining feather in the winning bird’s tail.