The Latvians’ Lair

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…

Where have you been all my life?

Where have you been all my life?

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…

Manly men aren't afraid to sit on leopard print sofas.

Manly men aren’t afraid to sit on leopard print sofas.

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…

Blending in - Latvian-style

Blending in – Latvian-style

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…





About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Beer, Expat, Fashion, Humor, Humour, Latvia and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

172 Responses to The Latvians’ Lair

  1. So funny Linda. You look awesome in leopard print!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. heatherinde says:

    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. 🙂

  5. Diana says:

    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…..

  6. Joanne Dalton says:

    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.

  7. Nerdator says:

    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! 😉

  8. Cindi says:


    Words. I have none.


    • Expat Eye says:

      NO! I can’t have made you speechless!

      • Cindi says:

        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? 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha ha! Fantastic! Blue leopard print is a new one on me – though I did see my first leopard print twin-set yesterday 🙂

  9. Heather says:

    I think the Latvians are onto something. Leopard is going mainstream:

  10. rigaenglish says:

    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?

    • Expat Eye says:

      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 😉

  11. Daina says:

    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.

  12. NancyTex says:

    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.

  13. Emmi says:

    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

  14. hahahaha late is better than never! Whats with the leopard print in Latvia? hahaha everyone loves it? 😀

  15. wasd says:

    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.

    • Expat Eye says:

      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!

  16. eNVee says:

    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.

    • Expat Eye says:

      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!

      • eNVee says:

        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.


      • Expat Eye says:

        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!

  17. Anna says:

    We are totally going there. And you know what I must buy in Latvia, dont you?

  18. astrameklere says:

    Is there still painting of brothers Shumachers on the back wall? 🙂

  19. lizard100 says:

    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!

  20. Hello says:

    leopard print is becoming a global fashion trend. soon you will see it everywhere!

  21. 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 😉

  22. Emmi says:

    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.

  23. June says:

    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!)

    • Expat Eye says:

      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!

    • Expat Eye says:

      And how do you know what Hooters has, young lady? 😉

      • June says:

        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!

      • Expat Eye says:

        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 😉

  24. bevchen says:

    Oh wow! This beats you in a leopard print dress hands down. Soooo much leopard print. My poor eyes can’t take it!

  25. Paul says:

    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.

  26. Jude says:

    Wow. Just wow.

  27. 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.

  28. 1WriteWay says:

    There’s a picture of you somewhere on this post??? 🙂 Now you can leave Latvia feeling that you have truly seen it all!

  29. Just when I thought the leopard-print mania couldn’t get more outrageous. What else are they hiding out there?!

  30. bmagpub says:

    Forgive me, but I am chuckling over Brālis – and how your average Kiwi would pronunce it. Love the disembodied head and levitating beer glass!

  31. Lāsma says:

    I can’t see the see-through bits. I’m very disappointed! 😦

Comments are closed.