Oh Latvians! You thought you were home free, didn’t you? You thought I wouldn’t find it. I know what you were thinking – “Well, she’s been here nearly four years and she hasn’t found it yet. What are the chances of her finding it in her last three weeks?” Oh ye of little faith…
Yes, tucked away in a quiet corner of the city, far from the tourist-trodden paths, lies Brālis Bar. From the outside, it looks pretty much like every other dodgy bar in Riga. In fact, you’d be forgiven for just walking past – quickly. This, however, would be a mistake. For, inside, lies the dirty little secret the Latvians have been hiding from me (and you) for the last four years. Yes, it’s a TOTAL LEOPARD PRINT FEST!
There was even a woman in a leopard print scarf sitting in one of the leopard print booths! I felt my knees go weak. I’d struck the leopard print jackpot!
The bar itself is a sports bar, but there’s something rather comical about watching manly-men, surrounded by sports paraphernalia on the walls, cosied up on leopard print sofas – while cheering in a manly way, of course…
Naturally, this being a locals’ bar, I felt that I should try to fit in and avoid drawing attention to myself. Luckily, I’d come prepared. Lāsma, in her infinite wisdom, had seen fit to buy me a little gift before she left. I think she may also have psychic abilities. So, much to the bemusement of my drinking buddy, I whipped the gift out of my bag, slipped it on and forced him to take a photo – when he’d stopped laughing and was able to locate me…
I took it off again before the scary-looking barman realised we were taking the piss and we scarpered, feeling triumphant.
If anyone else would like the chance to savour the Surround-Leopard-Print-Experience, Brālis is located on the corner of Tērbatas iela and Tallinas iela. And, for once, the Brālis beer was actually good.
So, apologies Latvians, your secret is out…
So funny Linda. You look awesome in leopard print!
Be careful what you say – I might make a show of you in Berlin some day 😉
This place looks too awesome to be real. In America, certain groups think it’s trendy to wear hunting camouflage in everyday life. It’s just as ridiculous as it sounds.
Oh no. Just no. 😉
And are you sure ‘awesome’ was the word you were looking for?? 😉
I was just thinking that it could be possible for the bar to be full of customers yet look empty because they had all blended into the decor!
Ha ha! Yes, that’s absolutely possible! You could end up sitting on someone by mistake 😉
What fun! 🙂
Probably not for the person you sit on 😉
Who knows? It might be their lucky night! 😉 🙂
I didn’t think of it that way 😉 You never know! 🙂
Whew, well thank goodness you didn’t leave Latvia without decking yourself out in leopard at least once! If you ever make your way down to Nuremberg, let me know and I’ll take you to the local Kneipe in my old ‘hood. But for that one, you need a zepra-print outfit to match the upholstery. Bonus: they have Guinness on tap, and there were zero people there on St. Patty’s Day. Presumably they were all packed into an “Irish” pub for the occasion. 🙂
OOH, I’ll have to add to my animal print collection before visiting then!
Nuremberg looks really nice so I’m sure I’ll make it there at some point! After I find a job 😉 I’ll definitely let you know if I do!
Nbg is lovely, even without the zebra. So let me know if you’re in the neighborhood!
I will! Can’t wait to start travelling around Germany! 🙂
Hope you’re looking forward to it. DE has a little bit of everything, that’s for sure.
I really am! And it will be nice to travel to places that people have actually heard of, for a change 😉
Haha, well I recommend going to Oktoberfest ASAP then. Because if you haven’t been, that’s all you’ll hear about.
Not sure I can afford it this year, but you never know 😉
One day is doable. Don’t do a week. Been there, wanted to die. And really, tourists/foreigners will want to know why you haven’t been. Germans can go either way on it. Soooo if you don’t get there ’til next year, you’ll be alright.
A week!? Jesus, I really would die!
A week. See: https://heathergoesdeutsch.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/would-you-like-to-make-an-all-week-party/
Never again. Never, ever, ever, again.
I feel a posthumous hangover coming on, just looking at it again.
Having read it, I feel a sympathy hangover!
Hi Wilma! ohhh…I mean Linda! That outfit/costume is fab! So are those cool seats……would have been oh so sad if you had not found this bar before you go away…..
I know! Thank god – the one good thing before I left 😉 No stone uncovered and all that 🙂
Haha Linda, I haven’t read all of the above comments so I’m sure someone has already noted the Flintstones look! Looks like you had a yabba dabba doo time anyway! Keep up the writing, I get such a laugh reading your log. had lunch with Niamh yesterday and we were talking about it. Best of luck in Berlin, a brilliant city.
Thanks Joanne! Hope you’re keeping well! Yeah, a couple of people have mentioned Fred – Lasma is not impressed 😉 Too funny!
”I tried to be like Grace Kelly but all her looks were too sad… So I tried a little Freddie…” 😉
Ha ha ha!
What? The t-shirts and the flags aren’t leopard? These people can’t be serious! 🙂
My theory is that the upholstery on the couches is just left-overs, scraps from the ACTUAL secret Leopardist interior project. So, stay vigilant! 😉
Do you think the Latvian national teams would consider wearing leopard? 😉
Well, if you change the palette to the colours of the national flag, it’s sold. 🙂
I’m dead serious. 🙂
Alternatively, you could change the lions on the coat-of-arms of Riga into leopards – they’re yellow already, wouldn’t be too hard to drizzle some black in. 🙂
Black marker time 😉
Come think of it, you can use a black marker to turn almost anything into leopard (or indeed a Fred Flintstone outfit, if you don’t feel too evil). 🙂
Stop giving me ideas 😉
Okay. 😉 *whisper* background image for this blog
Words. I have none.
NO! I can’t have made you speechless!
Speechless doesn’t happen to my yappin’ mouth very often. 🙂
But now it’s the next day, and as a postscript I’ll share something I’ve been meaning to mention since a previous “comment conversation” we had about a fellow immigrant in my language class last spring: my classmate from Riga walked in to class one night in a leopard print top and I almost burst out laughing ALL BECAUSE OF YOU.
And then I realized I had the same top, only in blue. I HAD BOUGHT A LEOPARD PRINT TOP AND DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT. I just liked the blue color.
If I ever get to Riga, I’ll wear it to Brālis. I won’t be quite as camouflaged as you were, but maybe it will help me fit in? 🙂
Ha ha ha! Fantastic! Blue leopard print is a new one on me – though I did see my first leopard print twin-set yesterday 🙂
I think the Latvians are onto something. Leopard is going mainstream: http://www.bodenusa.com/en-US/Womens-Dresses/Day/WH723/Womens-Wrap-Jersey-Dress.html?NavGroupID=4
I’m a big fan of wrap dresses, but $148 for that?! No wonder you left the States!
Dammit! I passed that place when I was doing Centrs last week. It looked a combo of shady and boring, so I didn’t go in as I’d other fish to fry. How was the beer?
Best Bralis I’ve tasted since I’ve been here actually! They also had Leffe Blonde on tap. But the decor sealed the deal for me – obviously 😉
Wow. Just wow. Bizarre that so many other things in Latvia are so pretty and attractive: tidy little gardens, beautifully restored historic building, the amazing flower arrangements you can buy at the 24hr flower market, yet somebody thought this was cool.
Latvians, eh? Who the hell can figure them out! 😉
Hands down the best thing about this post is that godawful top of yours! That’s Fred Flintstones’ shirt. It’s even sleeveless, like his.:-) If the print was just a wee bit smaller, you would have seriously blended completely into the bench. Priceless.
Ha ha! Lasma will be very offended! But now that you mention it… 😉
🙂 Fred Flintstone was very fashionable in his day.
Sometimes those times seem more advanced… 😉
Shut up! That top is from Zara, not Bedrock! New collection as well! Something inside me just died… 😦
See? I told you you’d upset her! 😉
It is! It’s Fred. It’s totally Fred.
Now all I need is a foot-powered car and I’m sorted 😉 Yabba dabba doo!
It does look like a Fred Flintstones dress doesn’t it.
Shhh Lasma. Stop crying. He doesn’t mean it… 😉
Shut up before I go Bamm-Bamm on you 😉
Uh oh, I did warn you!
btw its also comical how latvian men sit there all grumpy and cheer so manly amongst the pink walls and pink t shirts on the walls
And nobody notices anything odd about it 🙂
hahahaha late is better than never! Whats with the leopard print in Latvia? hahaha everyone loves it? 😀
ADORES it 😉
Yes. All of us, who have written “Latvian” in our passports wear exclusively leo. Leo dresses, shirts, t-shirts, trousers, knickers, jackets even ties. That’s a national pride to do so. Before you buy one they ask for your passport. If it doesn’t say “Latvian” you have to prove your connection to us.
You may also ask WHY we like it so much… Well, because we have a special leopard species running arround in the forrests. It is called the latvian brown leopard. Very rare, very special, very latvian. It’s not that leopard print bullshit has taken over the whole dumb world. NOOOOOO.
Same as latvian spaghetti trees…
I’m glad someone has finally made this public 😉
hahahaha I don’t see it much here in Germany, well at least not in Munich 😀
Yeah, I don’t think I saw any when I was there either! It was a four-day break for my eyes 😉
hahahaaha ohh you really make me laugh! Then I guess now you will have a nice break from it all 😀
A lifelong break 😉
Well guys, she found it. She found our secret.
Your post and my imagination gave me chuckle about the scene where guys are cheering in a manly way while sitting in that pub. And just to let You know, most leopard print I have seen is on your blog posts. Or maby I became so obsolete on the fact that its everythere that i dont even notice it around just like breathing air.
Ha ha! I think Latvians are just immune to it – or don’t really look around them that much 😉
A few people have said to me – this leopard print thing is bullshit. I never see it.
And then a couple of months later – you’re right. It’s everywhere 😉
They start noticing stuff after you point it out to them!
I do not believe my eyes! Linda in leopard print + admitting that Brālis is actually good. 😀
It’s ok, after few months you will love your new style and wardrobe contents.
You see – sharing dirty secrets usually unite people. Now you will feel much more connected to us than you ever did before. Next year you will feel like a real latvian. 😀
On a serious note – OMG.
Ha ha! Don’t pretend that you didn’t know this place existed 😉
The Bralis there was the best I’ve tasted – I had the nefiltrets one but they had 3 types. Unfortunately, they shut at 11 so I only had time to try one! They’ve also got Leffe Blonde on tap – it was hard to make myself go for the Bralis over that, but it turned out OK!
I knew the place there, but never been inside. Yes, non-filtered is the right choice. 😉
Leffe… hmmm. Too sweet for my taste, but ladies and younger men should like it though.
If you like to taste something different, go for Stargorod and try their beer. Quite a nice place, different types of Chech beer and food. I’d like to know your thoughts about it.
That place has been on my radar for a while but I haven’t made it yet! Will try to do so before I go!
We are totally going there. And you know what I must buy in Latvia, dont you?
You might be a bit freaked out by where it is 😉 The area is a bit deserted! But maybe I’ll find a nicer route to walk there…
Should I bring my camo gear?
It might not be the worst idea 😉
Is there still painting of brothers Shumachers on the back wall? 🙂
You expect me to notice a painting in those surroundings!?
Linda, I realise, it hard, but this painting was too large not to notice – all over the wall! 🙂
Ummm… there was stuff on the walls, I think 😉
My surname pronouncation and missed words are just great today 😀
It’s still early 😉
Oooh so here’s the thing; ‘leopard mob!’
You go to random locations, whip on the old print, photo taken, whip it off. Go about business!
I think it could beat Harlem Shake and become a sensation. Look what changing clothes in public did for Clark Kent!
Ha ha! I think I’d prefer to be Wonder Woman – I like the lasso of truth 🙂 But what a great idea! I might carry it around with me for the last couple of weeks actually 😉 Could be fun!
Do it! Comedy value enormous! You could develop. Cult following. And if you wanted to wear sparkly gold hot pants like Wonder Woman (wasn’t she called Linda too!)
The actress was! But I think you’re getting Kylie and WW confused with the gold hot pants 😉
Okay I checked. Blue sparkly hot pants trimmed with gold. Would also compliment the leopard print.
I think it would be FABULOUS, dahling! 😉
Yep. So forget about buckets of ice water the Latvian leopard challenge is on!
And it’s too cold for ice water anyway 😉
Cold there too? WTF happened to summer!?
We had hailstones two days ago!
Yeah, we’ve had that! I even thought I saw a couple of snowflakes yesterday but fear may have done things to my imagination 😉
It snows a lot in Berlin.
I doubt it gets to -30 though! 😉
Could be a little hotter in summer but I’ll take that winter over this one any day! 😉
Yep. Don’t really do cold. It’s not bad here. Rain I can cope with mind.
Yeah, me too – it’s an Irish thing. Oh, and they have Primark in Berlin! 🙂
Yee haar! (Not very ethical, mind)
Don’t ruin it for me!
Ach don’t you worry about all those slave wages.
My ‘let it snow’ pjs are from there 😦
leopard print is becoming a global fashion trend. soon you will see it everywhere!
they are coming!!! http://www.asos.com/ASOS/ASOS-Onesie-With-Leopard-Print/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=2995559
OH MY GOD! MY EYES! WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME, WOMAN/MAN! 😉
to reasure you, here is the answer from Marylou Luther (International Fashion Syndicate) who says: “Animal prints, especially leopard spots, are never out of date. Ask Diane Von Furstenberg, who includes them in many, if not all, of her collections. They define the word classic.”
So, there is nothing wrong. Latvia is just one classy fashion country 🙂 You just don’t understand.
For once, I’m happy to be clueless 😉
offtopic. Just by simple curiosity, I want to ask how (and most importantly – why in the hell) did you stay in Latvia for such a long time (several years, right?) if you find everything so wrong/hilarious/depressive there? What kind of masochism is that. (no offense intended) 😀
Well, I was happy enough for the first few years! Then I set up my company so I felt like I had to give that a fair shot. Every winter, I said ‘this will be my last year!’, then I ended up staying 😉 It’s been fun too but not where I want to spend the rest of my life. This seems as good a time as any to go!
Oh my… I should have waited till after breakfast… my stomach contents look somewhat like your top. And the likeness will reach its pinnacle in around 24 hours…
You are taking Anna there, aren’t you 😉
I’m not sure she’d be able for it 😉
She’d blend right into those seats…
And I think she’d get scared if I lost her. I’d better not take her. 😉
As long as there’s beer, she won’t notice 😉
They do food too 🙂
okay its officially a latvian thing. after my multiple trips and years living in the UK, US, Russia, Ukraine as well as Austria and Germany Ive never seen anything like that. your blog has more leopard print than I saw in all those countries put together in my 32 years of my life. from now on I refuse to accept that its an american thing or to blame it on the russians. latvians just love animal print and they have to admit it, you ve got them cornered now.
FINALLY! I must say, I’ve never seen anything like it either – not even in Las Vegas! 🙂
I love the bar name as much as the top and decor. Really, what did you expect in a place with that name? I was expecting the Latvian equivalent of Hooters (which, incidentally, I think might also have leopard print booths!)
Maybe ‘brothers’ watching sport? Ha ha! Is Bralis the same in Lithuanian? Obviously I knew (or had an idea) of what to expect – I had the top ready to go! I don’t carry it around all the time! 🙂 It was even better than I’d imagined though!
And how do you know what Hooters has, young lady? 😉
I used to live in Texas – there was a Hooters on ever corner. They did a great breakfast buffet and I went as “research”. (I was working in Food and Bev at the time.) Brother is Brolis is Lithuanian – similar, but without the adolescent hilarity!
Ha ha! Breakfast in Hooters, huh? OK, I can get on board with that. As long as the bacon is good, I can get on board with most things 😉
Oh wow! This beats you in a leopard print dress hands down. Soooo much leopard print. My poor eyes can’t take it!
I know – it should come with a public health warning! 🙂
Ahhh, the wild, camoflage look. You should be able to sneak up on any prey in the leopard bar without anyone noticing. It gives a whole new meaning to being on the prowl. Ha! I think you may have just coined a new label – a young version of cougar is a leopard. Ha! Well posed Linda.
Fabulous idea! There wasn’t really any suitable prey unfortunately 😉
Wow. Just wow.
Don’t you have bars like this in Toronto? You’re missing out 😉
If we do, I don’t know about them! Ask Nancy!
I think you should stay in Latvia another 4 years. There’s obviously a lot you still need to report on. It would be a shame to miss it all.
Pass 😉 The guy that I was with only arrived 2 months ago – maybe he can take over!
There’s a picture of you somewhere on this post??? 🙂 Now you can leave Latvia feeling that you have truly seen it all!
Ha ha ha! Clearly my cunning camouflage is doing the trick! 🙂 I think I’ve seen more than enough now!
Just when I thought the leopard-print mania couldn’t get more outrageous. What else are they hiding out there?!
I really don’t want to find out! 😉
LOL… unreal !!
But it is real – welcome to Latvia 😉
Forgive me, but I am chuckling over Brālis – and how your average Kiwi would pronunce it. Love the disembodied head and levitating beer glass!
Opps! pronounce – you in leopard print distracted me 😀
Yes, I have that effect – only seems to work when I’m in leopard print though 😉
Don’t you believe it! (About the leopard print) 😉
You sweet-talker, you 😉
I was with an Aussie at the time 😉
It means ‘brother’ in Latvian if that’s any use to you – probably not!
And YES! That’s the exact look I was going for! 🙂
I can’t see the see-through bits. I’m very disappointed! 😦
Ha ha! Well, I was still wearing my ‘normal’ clothes underneath it so there wouldn’t have been any flesh anyway! 😉
Just imagined you wearing nothing but leopard body paint. 😀
This one is probably better suited to Facebook chat 😉
No, don’t do that! Who else will buy me ‘useful’ gifts!? 😉
Who else is going to lie down with you, sing a song… 😦
Do we need to get a room?
Make it a mansion! 😀
Latvian women – you offer them a room and they want a mansion. Sigh. 😉
Time for me to go 😀