It’s no secret that over the last 10 years, Riga has flourished with trendy cafés, culture spaces and bars rivalling those found in other European metropolises. But, let’s face it - visiting just the capital of Latvia and disregarding the other cities has become soooo mainstream. That’s why we’ve put together a short list of hipster spots located in the smaller cities of Latvia for you to quench that thirst for local alt-culture.
So, put on your beanie, hop on your fixed-gear bike and let’s get rolling!
“Tvaiks x Ogle” in Alūksne
Whoever said that burgers and railway is a weird combo, must not have been to Tvaiks x Ogle. This little burger joint, located in a now-defunct railway station, will be a real treat to meat lovers and vegetarians alike. There’s also word that they sometimes host the hottest parties in all of Alūksne.
Art space "Mala” in Cēsis
Music, design, literature, art - you name it, this culture space has got it all. Mala is one of the central hubs for alternative culture in the region of Vidzeme, whether it’s live music shows, art exhibitions, various masterclasses and more. When visiting Cēsis, be sure to stop by - and don’t forget to grab some cool local design items from the shop while you’re at it!
“Curonia Coffee” in Kuldīga
Latvia is not well known for its coffee - but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a quality cup of joe. Curonia's own delicious, signature coffee blends by themselves are enough to warrant a visit to the beautiful, old-timey Kuldīga.
“Wise” in Liepāja
You could say that Wise is the place to play in Liepāja if you’re an upcoming indie band. This club isn’t afraid of musical diversity, hosting hip-hop gigs, metal shows and everything in between. But rest assured: if you happen to catch a live music show in Wise, it’s bound to be a good one!
“Tērbata” in Valmiera
Not far from Valmiera Drama Theatre, Tērbata, a cozy cafe, is a wonderful, family-friendly place to go and take a load off - and grab a bite to eat. Are you a picky eater? That’s no problem, because the diverse menu is sure to cater even to the nit-pickiest of tastes.
“Ausmeņa Kebabs” in Rēzekne
The original kebab & falafel place that’s now successfully made its way into Riga as well. Established back in 2013, Ausmeņa Kebabs has gained a cult status as a hotspot for local hip-hoppers and other connoisseurs of alternative culture. Also, isn’t Latgalia, kebabs and hip-hop the most weirdly wonderful combo? Also, while you're at Rēzekne, be sure to visit other culture and history hotspots!
Burgerbārs in Ventspils
The city of Ventspils is rich with things to do and see. When visiting the west coast of Latvia, don’t pass up on this burger joint! This is a place where you can’t tell what’s juicier - the burgers or the conversations they inspire. All the ingredients are sourced locally, and you can be sure you’re getting the cream of the crop. Vegetarians are also welcome!
“Doma Café” un “ESI” in Sigulda
Who doesn’t love sweets? This small café specialises in cakes, pies and other baked goods - which some might say, the best in all of Sigulda. Not to forget the Instagram-worthy atmosphere and interior, Doma café is a great place to grab a cup of coffee and tickle your sweet tooth. Oh, and if you enjoy refreshing cocktails to compliment your sweets, you'd also like ESI - sometimes, they host intimate music shows from local artists. While you're at it, why not stop by to visit other landmarks of Sigulda?
“Kussh Brewery” in Sigulda
Sure enough, this list wouldn’t be complete without a small-batch beer brewery! This brewery is always trying to innovate within their craft. The best time to visit them is probably on Fridays, because that’s the time of the week when the beer makers bring out their newly created, limited-edition beers for the public to try.
“Pāvilostas Enkurs” in Pāvilosta
Located within a few minutes’ walk away from the beach, Pāvilostas Enkurs offers a modest but quality selection of American-style cuisine and a broad choice of local craft beers which you can enjoy while hand picked Latvian alternative music is played from a real, authentic jukebox - not a sight you get to see that often nowadays.