Tag Archives: Hotel Latvia

The Skyline Bar in Riga

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.

 

A Life in a Year – 31st May, The Skyline Bar in Riga

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.

A Life in a Year – 8th March, International Womens’ Day

On a visit to Riga and the Hotel Latvia in March 2008 in addition to enjoying the Skyline cocktail bar we decided to eat there as well.  The food was excellent and there was a reasonably priced self-service buffet but what was especially good about his meal was that it happened to coincide with ‘International Woman’s Day’ and there were free cocktails for all of us and flowers for the girls. 

To be honest I had never heard of International Woman’s day before, it certainly isn’t that big in the United Kingdom, and to be honest I have to say that I thought it was a bit odd to have it on a Saturday, which is a day really reserved for sport, but it turns out that this was just an unhappy coincidence because IWD is held every year on March 8th and is a day of day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women around the world.

It all started in New York when in 1908 fifteen thousand women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.  In 1917, with two million soldiers dead in the war, Russian women chose the last Sunday in February to strike for ‘bread and peace’. This turned out to be hugely significant and a contribution to the overthrow of the Romanovs and four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote.  That historic Sunday fell on 23rd February on the Julian calendar, then in use in Russia, but on 8th March on the Gregorian calendar that was in use elsewhere.  It has since become very important in Eastern Europe after a 1965 decree of the USSR Presidium that International Women’s Day was declared as a non working day in the USSR “in commemoration of outstanding merits of the Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Motherland during the Great Patriotic War, their heroism and selflessness at the front and in rear, and also marking the big contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples and struggle for the peace.”  Good for them, but I still think it would be more appropriate to have IWD on a Monday! 

Another interesting thing is that although Latvia doesn’t care to remember or celebrate much about the Russian occupation they seem happy enough to continue with this day off from work arrangement.

In these days of equality it is important to be fair of course and I am pleased to say that International Men’s Day is an international holiday, celebrated on the first Saturday of November.  It was first suggested by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1999 and was supported fully by the United Nations.