Who says grit and culture don’t mix? At the Kaņepes kultūras centrs in downtown Riga, these two unlikely companions kick back, have a drink, and dance together on a Saturday night.
The Kaņepes cultural center was the last stop on our alternative walking tour of Riga, which I highly recommend if you’re looking to discover urban Riga beyond the restored facades of the Old Town.
This building has seen numerous incarnations in its over 100-year lifetime, from an aristocratic residence to a music school. Today, it’s a popular bar and club that’s a hotspot for live music, DJs, experimental art, and cinema—for nightlife in Riga with a laid-back, modern Bohemian vibe.
Now I love places like this, but the real reason I fell hard for the Kaņepes kultūras centrs: it’s surprisingly baby- and toddler-friendly! Since modern Bohemians are largely nocturnal, it’s quiet in the daytime. The wide front yard and terrace provides plenty of room for parking a stroller, or for a little one to toddle around while Mama and Papa enjoy a cup of coffee, a beer or even (ssshhhh, don’t tell) an early cocktail.
Although it sports peeling paint and stenciled graffiti on the outside, Kaņepes is laid-back and welcoming on the inside. I love all this warm wood offsetting the moody hues of the floors and ceilings.
The most intriguing detail beckons at the foot of the stairs: the wispy tail of a long braid.
Shall we follow it and see where it goes?