Essential Club

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Essential Club
Rating
65% from 103 reviews
Phone
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Website
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Address
Skolas 2

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Editor's review

Club Essential can rightfully claim to be one of Riga's very best. It distinguishes itself from the competition by bringing some of the world's top DJing talents to Latvia. If names like Tiesto, Deep Dish and Lee Coombs don't mean anything to you then you can consider yourself unworthy! Like all Rigan clubs the layout is stuck somewhere in the last millennium, with a large open dance floor surrounded by the ubiquitous perving gallery and lit up by cheesy strobes; however look past this and you will find a legendary night out with Riga's friendliest crowd awaits.

Editor
Local Life Riga

Reviews

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Guest Reply Sep 10th, 2013

Now closed

Andy from Canada Reply Aug 16th, 2013

Full with sluts and people who wants to be friends just for money, also high drug usage ..

Frank from Netherlands Reply Aug 4th, 2013

Hey Dutch, I'm from The Netherlands too. Shame on you, you are so conservative! Thank you Hans

Hans from Germany Reply May 9th, 2013

Hey Dutch, I'm sorry for you. Perhaps your are still living the cold war? If you would wake up you might discover, that most of the Eastern Europe countries never felt to be "eastern" and are trying their best to reestablish modern and democratic way of life - the one they lived before caught by communism. ...or feel free to sleep furtheron - it's up to you.

Dutch from Netherlands Reply May 8th, 2013

I have never went to latvia or to riga or the clubs mentioned. And i wont even go to eastern europe at all to have vacation or for fun. I bumped into this review, read some comments and had some laughs about the naive people among us. To those people especially, but to the others too, i want to say this, WAKE UP people, we are the West... the so called Triple A countries, bailing out the poor eastern / southern european countries. So if you go to the 'east' and even if you are friendly to them(yes !!) they will still envy you and hate you deep inside.. because YOU 'WE' have more, better, best of everything they have or dont have. If you want to have a great vacation and big fun.. and no scam etc.? Than stay in your own 'atmosphere' and go to countrys that are equal to your own country. And if you still want to have a taste of eastern europe? just look out of your window at the way to work, and watch the cars with the eastern licensplates. just my 2 cents.

cle from Belize Reply Oct 26th, 2012

lol i listened about tiesto but the others idk who they are. anyway don't go to latvia it's a rip off and girls will scam you.

Terry Mac from United Kingdom Reply Oct 9th, 2012

went last year for a weekend with 31 other people on a stag, Truly a superb stay from start to finish, No problems at all, very friendly and warm people, recommend to anybody, 10/10 best stag do we have been on by a mile.

petri from Finland Reply Jul 28th, 2012

The new club (El Divino) is a nice club but be careful that you get your drinks for the price mentioned on the drink list especially before end of happy hour. It happened that a girl in the upstairs' room (white room) charged double price for the drinks even if they were ordered before 1 am and when I complained she refused to charge the correct price.

Orlando from United Kingdom Reply May 27th, 2012

just read some of ppl opinions below and I don't know where this ppl come from to visit Riga ,I have been to Riga twice and going again in July ,im from Albania and I have seen many places in my life I must say Riga its special ,some ppl think they can go to Riga and get cheap girls and after when they find one they complain for being ripped off well that's what you been looking for get a grip ,the real Latvians girls are love in first sight .....

Jacob from Denmark Reply Apr 2nd, 2012

The music in this club was great and varied. The drinks prices weren't cheap, but acceptable. Met a nice Latvian girl there and had a great night. No scam or anything.

DK from Estonia Reply Mar 6th, 2012

I am a foreigner living and having business in the close Estonia. I went several times in Essential and fortunately I never got problems. If we talk about music and environment is simply huge and amazing. Ok there is problem about "Cocktail-girls" but they are everywhere in Riga, Riga is not city for naives...that´s for sure. But I may assure one thing real latvians are really friendly and welcoming, if you show respect to them they behave differently,unfortunately economical situation reflects what happens in the nightlife, police doesn´t work as it should do,but of course why they should risk their life for so miserable wage. It´s a pity an I hope in the next year Riga will improve also because if the city will be so unsafe,also tourism will die. I live in Tallinn , smaller city but with a lot of entertainment too, Tallinn can have many problems too but safety is higher and especially in the center almost nothing happens to tourists. I hope at least Riga will reach this level,it´s not pleasant to sleep in a Hotel where in the room beside a guest was robbed and punched close to the ex Babylon.

TEAM DFDSDHR.COM from United Kingdom Reply Jan 18th, 2012

Riga great place safe as anywhere,girls bars food life 5 star beers cheap) behave keep your eyes open for sure bar girls will come on to you for drinks agreed price for it or it will be very very expensive.watch out for some taxis they rip you go for the green Baltic taxis ,hotels very good and cheap try Days inn hotel.

Ali from France Reply Jan 1st, 2012

I am fed up with bad comments. I had a wonderfull week end there in Riga. People are the mirror of yourself, If you are a bad sexual tourist acting like a colonisator it is normal to be treated like shit in every country. But if you show respect , try to understand the other to treat him as equal and make new friend , then this baltic jewel is for you. It was great there and I prefer winter to avoid all these drunk alcoholic shitty people.I have never been scamed or cheated and I have been alone visiting the city so if you did something bad you diserved it that is all.

Russell from United States Reply Nov 30th, 2011

F this place and all the girls from Latvija, people from Latvija they are empty, only think in money, they have not soul. The girls just try to cheat you and get your money.

Frank from United Kingdom Reply Nov 28th, 2011

hey dudes, if a girl in Riga seems too easy and agrees to go to a bar/club with u, always be careful and check the prices first! Many girls have deals with bar/club owners to bring horny men who would buy £50 a glass drinks for them... Maybe you can get if you are lucky, but that is same everywhere... If u really want to enjoy the beauty of a latvian girl, u should stay there at least 1 month and work hard...

Soren "eastwood" from Denmark Reply Jul 13th, 2011

I have been guest in Riga for more than 8 years now and Essential is a good and hip place to visit! I agree to the saying that the turists ask for trouble themself - maybe they just dont are able to get drunk without their mom/dad nearby - but will say I also have seen to many happy turist behave and make a good time...it´s up to you!

Aleksandra from United Kingdom Reply Jul 12th, 2011

Hey I'm feeling sick to read all this about Riga and Latvians. I'm Latvian but have lived in UK for 10 years and going to see my family in Riga very often. The city is great!!! I think the people who write a bad reviews just don't know how to behave them selves. The Essential club is great to. I've celebrated my last birthday there and had a great time!!! It's all depends what you are looking for in there. If you're going to show off and get too drunk then you'll get in troubles but it will be just your own fault.. About the girls.. I agree that some of them are hunters but c'mon men use your brain and see what type of girl you're trying to chat up.. I must say some foreigners are behaving there really terriable. I've been approached many times by English men and must say had a big trouble to explain that I'm not interested in one night fun.. And btw those foreigners have been insisting to buy a drink for me even after I reject the offer.. So I guess they have been looking for a troubles there them self.. But if you are a normal human you'll enjoy the city and the clubs!!! One more tip. Don't be lazy to check internet for a taxi phone numbers and book your taxi over the phone and agree on price before.. Thats the way locals do it.

tony from United Kingdom Reply Jun 11th, 2011

Think yourselves lucky you are not talking in German. Another worthless place blitzkregen and jackbooted by the Hun and saved by the UK. Come to the uk and sponge on.

Bj from United States Reply May 30th, 2011

Very big club with good music...but the prices are not so good...a small beer (0,2 l) for three lats. So its very expensive to get drunken.

Meks from Latvia Reply Jan 8th, 2011

english people su*ks ;]

Bob from United Kingdom Reply Dec 17th, 2010

It's very popular with tourists, but that should not put you off. We had a GREAT night here last weekend. As long as you're not a poser, you'll have fun!

Maija from Latvia Reply Nov 6th, 2010

If you judge latvians and Latvia based on a visit to a place like this, please give it another chance. 99,9% of my latvian friends would not be caught dead being seen at Essential. This place is just known for having a scum public - drunken tourists and easy girls and frankly 'normal' locals rarely go there. It is certainly not representative of Latvia. If you want to have a good time at a decent place, you should ask locals for the best places to go. And by locals I dont mean somebody approaching you with promises of great time by the club door. Riga does have a great nightlife, but as far as I am concerned, Essential is not a part of it.

maris from Latvia Reply Nov 4th, 2010

im Latvian and have lived in UK for about 3 years recently was on a trip home eem, tips so essential is not the best place but definetely most expensive, id recomend Salamandra or LA Rocca for a night out dont show off or act like a dick coz than you might get in some trouble, plus dont walk too far put from the centre coz than you are fucked...but alltogether the place is nice, beutiful women cheap booze and transport lol oh yee one last tip use cash so take the money out and ATM and pay for shit coz you might get riped off even I did lol... coz i had and english debit card xD

gman from Belgium Reply Oct 18th, 2010

i've just been in disco PUSH across the liberty statue, it was a very good successful night, good music ,hot girls, entry was 5 let and drinks also not to expansive, much better than ESSENTIAL

Radu from Romania Reply Aug 24th, 2010

I just came back from Riga. I spent a week there and I must say I felt excellent. I had a good laugh reading other reviews about being scammed, or that people are not polite etc, referring to Essential. Guys it is a club, people drank alcohol, it's normal to find some too friendly or others thinking they own the place and being rude :) I had a great time there, and found it perfect that in the same place you can change the kind of music by moving from one dance floor to another. If you are not with a local just be nice and you won't have any problems. If girls hook u up and ask for free drinks it's your choice to buy them or not. You can also find normal girls looking for a nice time in a club, if you know where and what to look for :) Overall I felt like home with another language :) But it takes a bit more to give it 5/5 :)

Thomas from Germany Reply Jun 20th, 2010

Was there recently. Not too bad. Only thing that is rather strange: Nearly all men were foreigners, hardly any locals. Girls were always in groups of 2-3, looking for foreigners to buy them drinks (or something else). You can't really meet anyone there. Music was ok.

Mike from United Kingdom Reply Jun 2nd, 2010

This club is full of golddiggers and scammers. Latvian guys always start fights. It is strange and bad

charlie from United Kingdom Reply May 12th, 2010

Latvians are a bunch of moody a***oles!! - They complain about the tourists, but are more then happy to take the money by offering cheap holidays / drink / girls etc etc Either stop selling out, or shut up!! Oh, and try smiling once in a while!

Chris from United States Reply May 9th, 2010

I was in Riga on business in September 2009, staying at the Reval Hotel right by Essential. Some Latvian colleagues decided to show me around Riga one night and we ended up in Essential. I liked the fact of there being different rooms covering various music styles, so if you end up going there with friends that have versatile interests, there should be something for everyone's liking. The girls in there were just amazing looking. Though I do believe you've gotta watch out for the girls wanting foreigners to offer them drinks or favors. It all depends whether you believe in paying up or not ;) Luckily I happened to be in Essential with some colleagues who are Latvian so I was pretty well covered on that front and had a blast in that place. I'd definitely go back to Club Essential but I'd always be careful about who I'll hang out with and what kinds of money I'd spend on what.. Cheers, Chris

brock from United Kingdom Reply Jan 26th, 2010

My son went to Club Essential March 2009. He used his credit card to pay for drinks - somehow at the same time he paid for them, almost 5 grand disappeared from his credit card at a nearby club called bar lord (now renamed, I think, and highly notorious!) As if that wasn't bad enough, his credit card wouldn't believe him - a year on, still fighting it, and owing over 6 grand with added interest. I don't know how they did it, but somehow there was a link between the two places so avoid this place and keep your credit cards at home!

Marios from Greece Reply Nov 22nd, 2009

If you believe in your own strength, you must go there and take what you deserve. But go there anyway. Great place, good alcohol, dance until you fall, great girls, good staff!

Kris from Australia Reply Nov 10th, 2009

I have been to Riga on several trips in the past and I liked it so much I have moved here. I've been living in Riga for 3 months now and own a flourishing web design business. Riga is completely safe and has some of the friendliest people around. Like any where though there are scammers but as long as you don't walk around with your head in the sand you'll be fine! Cheers Kris

Stephen from United States Reply Oct 4th, 2009

This can be a very dangerous place. I'm not ill-behaved or obnoxious. Just a quiet private banker who happens to speak fluent Russian. Was there a few months ago and got robbed by the doormen after I returned from an ATM. They took about $200. The drinks for foreigners were about 3x more expensive than for locals. The taxis outside are notorious for thieving. I notice that those who defend this place are locals which is not surprising. Barmen, doormen, and taxis don't dare steal from locals like they do from tourists.

Eilif from Norway Reply Sep 8th, 2009

There's many who criticise Riga and Latvians, and i cant agree to this. I have been several times in Riga both with friends and going alone. I have never been in any kind of trouble. The city is great and so is the people as long as you treat them with respect. The only bad experience i have of Riga is the taxi drivers. Since i am a man, they instantly want to drive me to a bordel or a strip club. A few times it have happen that i told them where i am going, and they drives me to bordel anyway. When i then said this is not where i am going, they try to charge me extra for taking me to the right place. Many on this site writes about high taxi prices, one tips for that is to agree on a price with the driver before the trip, in that way you shouldnt get to surprised. Of course there might be some crimes in Riga (Just like any other cities), but its not any big problems as long as you use your head, dont carry with you to much values, and dont "show off". About the club : Great place with good music. Nice people and beautiful girls. One of the 3 best places in Riga in my opinion. The only downside is high prices on drinks. A little more expensive than many other places in Riga.

Matt from United Kingdom Reply Jul 6th, 2009

will be going to riga this week and maybe check out club essential and la rocca. i can understand why the english ppl get such a bad press, the way a lot act when in other countries. there are 12 of us coming, but i for 1 will treat the city like i do any other. WITH RESPECT. i will report fully once back : )

Johan from Sweden Reply Jun 17th, 2009

We had great time in Essential! We took local guide Anastasia and she maid VIP-enter for our group without queue. Also she showed us all around, there is total 6 floors with different music! We liked oldies the most, but rnb was the hottest. Prices was ok, the same as in OldTown.

latvia rules latvian sucks from Belgium Reply Jun 16th, 2009

latvian hates everybody anyway how can you justify the local maffia that rips off people by saying "they act like stupid" it is a reason to get agressed maybe? pfff Latvians are pathetic

Thieo from Netherlands Reply May 30th, 2009

Amazing club. Most beautiful girls everywhere you look. No rip offs, fights whatsoever. Just a great club with different music styles in every room and seriously, the most beautiful girls, everywhere you look! It's kind of expensive, 5 lats a beer, but totally worth the money. Friday night is the best night I guess, cuz on saturday is was kind of empty.. Go Riga! Go Essential!

johno from United Kingdom Reply Apr 27th, 2009

Having just got back from RIga I have to say I'ts not the rip off hell hole I was getting weorried about after all the reviews. YEs the flight was full of Stag parties (we were one of them) and Yes By the end of the flight I was hoping the bunch of "Cockney/Essex" lads would be ripped off and Locked up. but the other groups we met whilst out there were well behaved and had a good time. We did happen to walk into LORDs Pub but we had read up and didn't run a TAb and Didn't buy any of the Girls a drink and we walked out after 1 Drink. everywhere else was fine. We did get propositioned in Mcdonalds, and Chatted up by Russian Ladies that were far to nice in Club essentials but as we weren't looking for anything they soon found someone else. Drinks are dear in the Club but music was good andeveryone else was freindly. Yes like all the other stags we went to to the Irish bar breiflky on the other nights but nothing you don't get in any other european city. everyone had a good time , no ne was Robbed/Beaten/Locked up take care read up and don't act like a bunch of T**ts and you will be fine.

Roberto from Spain Reply Apr 19th, 2009

By the way, if you behave well and respect the rules, Riga is not dangerous at all.

Roberto from Spain Reply Apr 19th, 2009

Ok, I was in Riga! First of all, girls are amazing, but they are not easy to get. I think it is because they are meanwhile very suspicious about foreigners. I was at Club Essential. 80 % were men, most of them foreigners from western Europe, middle east and some Africans. Girls are by far not as good looking as during the day in Riga. It was a waste of time and money and therefore I do not recommend that club. La Rocca club is a little better. Very good DJs and more girls, but still not more than 30 %. Men here were mostly Russians. Again I can not recommend that club as well. If you are looking for a girl you will have a hard time in Riga. Of course, if you wanna pay for girls you will have some fun too. They use to approach foreigners at the entrance of old Riga in the evenings on weekends. I found that quite bothering though. There is much more to tell about Riga and Latvia, but I dont think anybody here really cares :) So, if you are just into girls, latvia will be quite a frustrating experience :)

Eastwood from Denmark Reply Mar 9th, 2009

To Roberto ! Don't worry - been lone traveller for 6+ years in Riga - nothing bad never happened!

D from United States Reply Mar 4th, 2009

I am Latvian, moved to US 7 years ago, but, sadly, have to admit that service in Latvia very poor, when i came back to visit my family 2 years ago I was shocked, prices are over the roof, people sad and depressed, good I still have couple friends left there. Yeah, for a tip , in club don't buy shots, get a whole bottle (20-30$), in US they charge 200-300$ (they count per shot)

Roberto from Spain Reply Mar 3rd, 2009

This is not a review, but rather a concern. I want to go to riga for some weeks and take some russian courses to refresh my knowledge. Now I read so many scary stories about Riga and suddenly I am not sure anymore if I want to jump into that journey. On the other hand, I went several times (alone!) to Minsk and to St. Petersburg to learn russian and have other kind of fun and never got into trouble. So, is Riga really that dangerous city for a lonely traveler who survived Minsk and St. Petersburg?

Matthew from United Kingdom Reply Feb 23rd, 2009

Ive been to some of the biggest cities literally all over the World, Paris, Prague, Miami, london, cape town, milan just to list a few. Riga must be the worst major city ive ever been to. Freezing, corrupt, miserable people and no atmosphere whatsoever. Usually poor countrys like this will compensate by having cheap prices but not here. It is seriously more expensive than any of the cities listed above especially for food and drink. If you are unfortunate enough to be going here then make sure you stay in large groups. Take plenty of layers of clothing because its soooo cold. Beware of people trying to refund you in Estonian money because it looks similair to Latvian but is a much weaker currency resulting in you getting ripped off. You seriously should not go there. Its the only place ive been where the people dont even smile?? oh my GOD

Matt from United Kingdom Reply Feb 19th, 2009

I went to Riga for 5 days with 4 of my mates, From the start it was a rip off the taxi driver who took us from the airport charged us 15 lats £20 roughly, this was organised by our company and should have been free, we got a refund at the end of the week. Also old town was a 20 min walk away we didn't find this out till day 3 as the taxi drivers use to take us round and round so it felt miles away so try and walk not get a taxi, they charge what they want but haggle as the price can come down. We went to a strip club dolls and they had prices laid on so make sure you know the price before doing anything. Dodge anything with a red sign or lights as these are dodgy places we were told. Essentials was very good. music was great and women amazing, i only took out my money and that was it no cards or phone, the less you have the less you can get stolen. We kept getting approached by groups of men 1 or 2 and they got us to go to bars etc, watch out for these people they are all nice to you ask you for money try and sell you drugs. There was a guy called snakeman and a tall guy with blonde hair with a smaller guy they are out to rob you felt unsafe. don't tell anyone where you are staying or your names etc. stay as a group. Really expensive so it was over there spent a fortune.

Ignatius from United States Reply Feb 19th, 2009

I was robbed at Essential by the club's security. They saw me go to the ATM and when I returned, I was dragged into a closet and they took all of my money. What an experience. Oh, and the bar charges tourists 2x as much for drinks as it does for locals. Avoid!

Pascha from Germany Reply Jan 14th, 2009

Really a great place to be, nice girls, different kind of music, great location. But i think for latvian standard it is very expensive. Bottle Heineken 0,33l for 5 Ls. (7 euro)... In Germany you get a bottle of Heineken for probably 3-4 euros. Summary: Expensive, but you have to see the club...

G from Sweden Reply Dec 18th, 2008

Seriously, all these negative comments about Riga makes me sick! I've been living here for about two years now and I've never had any problems with scamming, etc, etc. And I've been going out pretty much every weekend. Sure, I'm in my early 20's and probably the opposite of what the locals would call a sex tourist (I make sure to look good, be polite, not get too drunk and so on) Anyways, I've read some comments here and some say dont be a pig, some say dont be a dumbass - I say be neither - just act like any normal guy who wants to have a great time! Just follow that simple rule and you will be able to enjoy this fine city =) About Club Essential I can say that it is a must-place here in Riga, depending on your background - if u've been to some major european clubs this might not be so awesome as most people would like it to sound like =| But it IS the most massive place for parting in Riga!!! And remember, if the queue is too big, you can always use the "VIP" entrance - just give the guard a firm handshake with 10 lats ;)

Paul from Ireland Reply Nov 27th, 2008

I was in Riga in Jan 2006 with my then girlfriend. We had a wonderful time. We went to Club Essential and had a great night. Drinks were priced as I would expect. U should expect to pay more than you would in a normal bar no matter where u go. We had no hasssle expect for one taxi who ripped us off but we put that down to experience. We met a lovely local couple and we spent a great night partying with them in Club Essential. Overall like all cities act like a jerk...you'll be treated like a jerk.

from Spain Reply Nov 27th, 2008

I really enjoyed the club, as for the city - the old part of it was magnificent. But when talking about girls - I met one girl there who danced really beautifully though when me or my friends tried to talk to her she simply avoided by dancing closer for a bit and then skipped away, there was also one that came to our group and asked to get drinks for her and her friends - so I guess latvian girls differ a lot, though most of them are really good looking.

Abb from United Kingdom Reply Nov 11th, 2008

me and my mates we never saw a city like Riga, nice city and the people so genuine and the girls so pretty...I am british and I am proud to be Brit, at the same time I disagree with some of the Brits behaviors and they deserved to be called pigs. So all u scums stay in your local bars in England and leave this city alone

alexis from Greece Reply Nov 8th, 2008

ok riga is a classical place for these people they do not have an idea about night life.everything has very low quality and the main thing is the money.latvians are desperous and miserable people.these strip clubs we had in greece 10 years ago.face control we had 20 years ago. ok the girls are good but not good enough.....and the prices are really expensive.imagine their salaries are approximatelly 400 euros per montht.they want tourists but they do not know even to speak english.old town and thats all.then the total chaos.poor country ,poor people,poor entertainment,expensive drinks and dangerous clubs.no guys i will not go again there.

alexandre from France Reply Oct 25th, 2008

Extraordinary Club!!! Pretty Meet!! Nice and very good Night Club!! Good Music and very very good DJ!! Come on, It's Fantastic!!

Tomas from Norway Reply Oct 22nd, 2008

Great country, great city and great club! Only sad thing (because I'm half British) Is that a major part of the Brits acts like **** ... i cant understand why only our cousins on the British isles behave like s**t? Anyway, when the locals understand your not British, you can have a smile in return and I'm sure your stay will be just Great! just as ours :)

Joe from United Kingdom Reply Oct 22nd, 2008

I've been to Riga about 10 times and most of things written here "could" be true. One thing is for sure, if you are stupid then you'll get ripped off. Zephyr, Dolls House, Essential ... they will all rip you off if you don't look like a local. I have many latvian friends and the whole Old Town scene is so completely different from the people I know. There is a hard-hitting recession on in Latvia the last year or two, and this has just made the rip-off scene even worse. Nowadays, if you go ANYWHERE alone you could be ripped off by the club. Dolls House and Zephyr appear to be the worst ... I don't know why they don't close those places down. Just aweful. Tip: stay in a group, behave yourself and have fun. If you're English (NOT British, Irish, Welsh or Scottish) go and piss on someone else's city.

Dutchman from Netherlands Reply Oct 15th, 2008

We are going to Riga in January for a weekend. Is it really that bad with the UK guys? Can you recommend some place?

laura from Latvia Reply Oct 10th, 2008

it's good that guys from England start to dislike the clubs and Riga... most of them act like a*****es and people from Riga generally dislike them because of that. When English guys will stop being such rude, the attitude towards them will change. And just for you still wanting to go to Riga and clubs, just use tourism companies that organize trips and will help you if any problems.

Internationalist from Denmark Reply Aug 25th, 2008

Just got back from a great weekend with a couple of mates in Riga. Went to Essential Club on Saturday and had a great night, met a local hens night and partied until the early hours on the impressive dancefloors on various levels. Very good club by Euro and UK standards and great house, trance & electro. Overall impression is a really nice city, friendly but introverted people, everywhere you look around the old town are picture perfect cobbled streets & old buildings - and money. But unfortunately this is where the city has major problems. Capitalism greed is well and truly alive here. They appear to have gone from one extreme to the other from the old repressionist communist days. Perhaps understandably. With time the corruption and greed of this city will be reduced to the normal seedy area found in most capitals, however to everyone going there BE AWARE. Some tips: * DO treat the locals and environment with respect. * DO NOT get too drunk like back home. * DO NOT get a taxi unless ordered from your hotel/hostel. * DO NOT use your credit cards in bars. * DO NOT use the city as your toilet -You will get arrested, or citizen arrested - yes this is true. And if you want to walk around wearing the same t-shirts as your friends, with one wearing a viking helmet or something just as amazingly hilarious, you will be seen with hatred from the locals and expat workers and you will all be an absolute target. I was chatting to a guy in a hostel about his friends (a couple) who would not pay the 27lt (30pounds) taxi fare which should have been more like 5lt. They were subsequently locked in the cab, taken to the cabbies mates and bashed. She (yes a female) had her leg broken in 3 places. My friend had 7000pounds skimmed from his credit card at a bar (he was by himself). He is not a disrespectful person and even bothered to learn some local words. I don't want to deter people from coming to this beautiful city, but until the greed and corruption is reduced to the usual area within a capital city, you need to be careful AT ALL TIMES. I suspect most people who have dismissed or put down this entire city or country due to one unfortunate incident, are showing just how ignorant and stupid they really are. I will be back to the Baltics at the next given chance. Hope this has helped. Cheers.

Nils from Sweden Reply Jul 27th, 2008

RUDI DOBSON NAILED IT! How can you respect people that treat all tourists like crap and think it's ok to rob them? Why doesn't the police close all these places that cheat and rob tourists constantly? Unbelievable. Is there no laws in this country or is it just corrupted to the bone??? What a hellhole.

Jutta from Germany Reply Jun 26th, 2008

ESPECIALLY ON RUDI DOBSONS COMMENTARY. Hi, I am Jutta from Germany. Through the years I was working on some project together with Latvian people. I was visiting Latvia at least 5 times a year. I like Latvian people, they are very kind , intelligent and really nice people. Latvia is beautiful, as well the capital city Riga, as well in the country side. You schould go there (country side) with some local latvian, who could show you so wonderful places, you will be amazed. The nature in Latvia is still untouched per big factories. There are a lot of woods, wild clean lakes and gorgeous beaches. I can tell only, that when I was reading Rudi Dobson's comentary on Latvia, I got really upset - at least my experience is totally different and Latvia don't deserve to get framed in such a picture like Rudis. Rudi, in case, if that's so terrible there why you don't go to live back in your paradise Great Britan? I think Latvians have a good base to call brits like they did, if they have to do with such a people like Rudi. I can only join Latvian people in their not so very good opinion about the britisch tourists, because when I was in Riga, I saw those very drunk people, shouting on the streets in Old Riga, getting physical toward tresspasents, as well as in one Bar being really rude to a girl which didn't want to communicate with them. So, all others, be sure, Latvia is a safe place, lot's to see, wonderful food (all over), beatiful nature. Enjoy :-)

Vi from Mexico Reply Jun 18th, 2008

Read the writing of an english fellow (I suposse) complaining about Latvia...well...what to say? we talk as we experience things...where he sees w***s I see free-will women, maybe, something that we, males, cannot accept easily. Acting like models? I think they ARE models. Nature is generous in Latvia in that sense. They are beautiful. Corrupt police? don't go to Mexico (where I was born... :), sorry Mexico...). Is Riga a shitty apartments city? I think it's a fascinating place, worth to preserve in many ways, in constant development without losing connection to the treasures of ancient times. Not to mention the Countryside (this week I saw 2 young deers near the city borders!). Are latvians the saddest people in the world? I think it's just precaution after such so many hard times from long ago. Now that I know latvians better I can say the are really warm and generous people. Full of values and proud of traditions and culture, wish my country fellows had the same attitude!, and if the minister said that Britons are pigs, well, no merit to go to a host country and pee over a National Symbol like the Freedom Statue. Anyway: "todo es segun el cristal con que se mira". :)

Chris from Cyprus Reply Jun 14th, 2008

Amazing country, nice club, very polite people and its worth it to visit Latvia!!

Rudi Dobson from Latvia Reply Jun 11th, 2008

I live and work in latvija, Everyone goes on about the english and they should respect Latvian and Russian Girls, but they need to respect themselves and give respect back before they get it back. further more, they complain about Ryanair sex tourist, but who is creating the problem? They are happy to take their money on one hand and complain on the other. Close down the strip bars, stop the idiots handing out the cards on the street, sack the minister of transport for taking back handers from Ryanair to give them low landing fees and they wont come. If English people are so bad, why are so many coming to the UK, bleeding our taxes and benefit systems, coming here for better jobs and education. I say to them donut come if we are so bad... 95% of the woman are acting like whores, using tourist for drinks, taking them to dodgy clubs where they work and end up with a bill for 3 - 5K, Stealing wallets, mobile phones. The Bars are full of prostitutes, Corrupt Police that don't care and try to get money from tourist, So how can we respect these people??? Save your money they don't deserve it, The woman go around in their fake designer clothes like they are models and then they are waiting for a tram or trolley bus to go back to there shitty apartment outside Riga. So who are they to say they are better than us? Not to mention their achievement of being the most un happiest people in the World Guinness Book of records. In addition the Russians and Latvians treat their woman like dogs, The guys have three or four boyfriends on the go and the woman are doing the same? The government is fleecing everyone with corrupt deals, The mayor Of Ventspils was recently arrested for this and is under House Arrest. The Prime Minister said in the National Paper The Baltic Times All English People are Pigs, Imagine if Tony Blair Or Gordon Brown said that? They are the Pigs and the lowest form of people on this earth, a bunch of Gypsy's, They don't have the honor of making an honest living and think Stealing, Ripping you off or how much money you have is a normal way of life.... Respect that? I don't think so... I was even as a resident refused to go into a bar called Coyote Fly because I was English, My Norwegian friend also was refused and he worked for Nato. I have now left and never will return to such a country that is a such a country of filth. Riga should be changed for the Russian name Suka or Land of Whores..

Andrejs from United Kingdom Reply May 26th, 2008

Taking my 4 good friends to riga in july..thought about going to this night club..not quite sure now. we aren't going to get drunk(we will as everyone does) and look for girls,just wanna show my country to my friends but by the looks of it all im going to get is embarrasment .Is it really that bad? i havent been in Riga for 3 years now. so any advice?

Mari from Estonia Reply May 19th, 2008

I am from Estonia (country on the north boarder with Latvia). I would like to admit that i like Riga, i always enjoy nightlife there, but would like to admit, that service is hotels is not good enought for the price they charge (was staying in 4 and 5 star hotels); very corrupted country and what's for sure - sex tourism, that is the highest in Baltics. For this reasons, i prefer to stay in Tallinn, that is soo much different. Otherwise, i always liked Riga...

Ignatius from Czech Republic Reply May 10th, 2008

AVOID!!!! I got completely robbed. Drank 7 euro beers (girls drink for 2 euros), ran out of money and asked security where there was an ATM. Went to an ATM, came back into the bar and security took me into a small closet room and made me strip and took all of my money. Spent the next day at the police station telling my story. Brutal. Text me if you are serious about going here. Mark

Federico from Italy Reply Apr 27th, 2008

ONLY ONE WORD. SUPERB

Bajie from United Kingdom Reply Apr 14th, 2008

Essential reminded me a bit of clubs in the UK in the 1990's in terms of the layout. Music was good (house music and commercial R&B), there was a generally good atmosphere, some odd blokes with mullets around but you get that everywhere (minus the mullets, that seems to be Russian thing). Drinks are expensive though, rivals London club prices. And please, not all English people are complete morons.

Valters from United States Reply Mar 19th, 2008

Avoid this horrible club. Good for foreigners, but has a reputation for being laden with whores.

Alex from Czech Republic Reply Mar 10th, 2008

AVOID!!! Went there in 2007 with four friends (two Americans and two local girls we met in Riga). We weren't a stag group, just biz associates en route to Russia. After ordering several rounds of beer at 8 euros (note: girls told me they charge foreigners 2x more than locals) I ran out of money so I needed an ATM. Asked a security guard at the door and he pointed outside. Walked out, got my money and entered (after having to pay cover again!) and the same guard grabbed me and put me in a closet with one other guy. They frisked me down, made me strip, stole my money and threw me out of the club. Told the police and they laughed. What a great place! Overall experience of Riga was awful and based on what I saw, if you're a stag group, don't even think about going!

Mike from United Kingdom Reply Mar 3rd, 2008

As with any club in Riga, if you don't act like a jerk, be respectful, and don't come in a big group of jerks you'll be fine. The music here is nothing special, but still good to dance to and we had a great time with the local girls!

Matt Soden from United Kingdom Reply Feb 18th, 2008

Riga great place. Club Essential was a good night,nearly refused entry due to swaying in the que but explained i had come for a good time & the bouncer let me in. A friend later on had to pay 37 lats to get in, taking advantage of the state he was in!!! The music was good if you like your hard techno/house. I agree some (probably most) English people are dick heads but don't put us all in the same bracket. We had a good time & got alot of advice off our hotel staff. It could be easy to get ripped off there tho,if there is a massive group of you...

koen from Belgium Reply Feb 4th, 2008

I went to Riga with a friend and I must say: wauw. The girls alone really make up fr the long trip. the city itself is also beautiful and Club Essential really was THE place to be. It's a shame that most of the Brits there just when to get wasted in the hope they could get lucky with one of the girls there. I met a real sweet girl in the club one night who was funny and very cute by the way :). I hope one day she'll read this, can't remember her name though, could'nt pronounce it either. greetz from the Belgian Airforce pilots

dd from Latvia Reply Jan 26th, 2008

Certainly the best place to go in Riga if you want to have a good time where everyone indeed enjoys their time rather than trying to get in fist fights. Well, and regarding Brits...this is just one great nation with few drawbacks...they are bald, loud, rude, arrogant and when they have a chance to get out of jail what Britain currently is they behave like animals but I have to admit that I rather prefer average Briton than Latvian. Unfortunately, we are seeing mostly people from council houses and those living on tax credits, cause Riga very well meets their low income and inability to find a decent girlfriend and money comes in hand here to buy happiness for a few hours.

DucAnh from Vietnam Reply Jan 10th, 2008

I'm studying in Germany at the moment and wanna take a short trip to visit Riga and some clubs there. I'm asian so I wonder whether any problem I will get there. I don't have any problem in western europe at all but eastern europe who knows....

Daniel from Germany Reply Jan 2nd, 2008

To summarize it: Room for improvement! I've been there with two mates on 29th Dec 2007 and found a rather pleasant and civilised crowd there (not one stag party idiot from the UK, but a lot of tourists from other EU-countries), lots of charming local girls. Acceptable music on 3 different floors (R&B, House, Pop/Rock/Mainstream). Interior made/stuck in the 90ies as in many other places in Riga. But: Staff is extremly rude and unfriendly, almost frightening. Nevertheless: Besides that the club is worth a visit, but could be better.

Jay from United Kingdom Reply Dec 29th, 2007

Me and a few friends visited Riga back in March and had such an amazing time. The city has so much to offer and should not be missed. The nightlife is pretty special with Club Essential being one of the highlights. The music was good and everyone was there to have a good time. I agree that certain stag groups are ruining Riga but let's not sterotype us Brits with this. The stag groups are only a small minority of our nation and i have come across plenty of idiots from all over the world on my travels. Just be respectful of Riga and it's people and you'll have no problems at all.

Bert from Norway Reply Dec 26th, 2007

Am not from England and will never be. Looking forward to a great weekend in Riga, never been there.. I am looking forward to RIGA. Happy NewYear..

Gert from Netherlands Reply Dec 23rd, 2007

To all Brittish people: don't go to Riga! It's a corrupt-country and it's not safe! Place stay in England. To all other people: Riga is really the best place on earth.

Bart from Belgium Reply Dec 23rd, 2007

I hate the British tourists also. Last week, I was walking with a Latvian girl from Essential to my hotel and some Englishmen were yelling at every girl they see. Latvian girls are really the hottest in Europe, but if are nothing more then a sex-tourist, don't expect them to be nice to you.

whomerver from Spain Reply Dec 9th, 2007

crap place, crap country, crap people.. wish Latvia will disappear off the face of the world

Hannes from Germany Reply Dec 6th, 2007

It's sad that all these Brits who don't know how to behave and then wonder why they get kicked out or worse have to ruin it for all other visitors to Riga. It's a cool city and Essential Club, once we convinced the bouncers that we're not British, was one of the best we'd been to in Europe. Great party!

Andy T from United Kingdom Reply Dec 5th, 2007

To all the Latvians , i see your government is no different to its citizens , corrupt to the bone!!!

Luca from Italy Reply Nov 25th, 2007

good for Dance and for dirnk. But not the best, i prefer the fashion club

Mike from Ireland Reply Nov 15th, 2007

was in Riga 2 weeks ago, two local girls bought us to a deserted strip club instead of fashion nightclub where we were supposed to go and charged us 400 euro for drinks. Never again will return to Riga, and will tell everyone I know what a horrible place Latvia is.

Rob from United Kingdom Reply Oct 15th, 2007

What a rip off!! Went to Club Essential with 6 mates; only 3 of us were allowed in (including me) and the rest were told to piss off by the bouncers! The staff inside was rude and the girls minging; no fit birds at all!!!!! STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLACE

Petey from United Kingdom Reply Oct 8th, 2007

Essential is a cool club; its a shame they let in all those UK stag party fools...i hear stories about english guys being ripped off/beaten up in Riga.....GOOD.....i encourage that, lets hope they never come back and stay on their council estate!!!!!

Soren from Denmark Reply Oct 1st, 2007

100 % Danish But love Latvia and Riga since my first visit 5 years ago...been in Riga more than 40 times since then - both on business trips, weekends and vacations ;o) Like the city and the people and had several nice romances with local girls..some for short time another for 2 years ! Now Im married (with danish girl)and live back in Denmark ;o)

Andy T from United Kingdom Reply Sep 27th, 2007

Soren i am neither a fool nor english and this wasnt my first drinking trip. You seem very passionate about Latvia for somebody from Denmark ? sure you are not Latvian?

Soren from Denmark Reply Sep 26th, 2007

Fools get fooled very easy... Stupid people will always be stupid no matter what country they visit ! During last 5 years I see more and more groups of english speaking groups acting like children on their first drinking trip...I can easy understand why locals dont like them and think they are easy prey ! Essential Club is a very good club - with fast service and several dancefloors..never problems there and many locals go there. Good RnB music place too :o) Take care and behave nice !

joe from Ireland Reply Sep 23rd, 2007

from what I read about the reviews. Riga is a corrupt unsafe place to visit

Andy T from United Kingdom Reply Sep 20th, 2007

Riga , what can i say corrupt from top to bottom , if it aint the bar staff trying to steal your money , it's the bouncers asking for £30 to get by them or its the police trying to steal the contents of your wallet . The sooner they leave the EU the better !!!

Tom K. from United Kingdom Reply Jul 17th, 2007

There's a total backlash against stags here now, and clubs like Essential are really cracking down. But if you're not in a huge group, if you don't act like a d-bag, and if you at least make an effort to speak the language a bit, it's ok and people can be nice. The girls here were definitely friendly once we got in, so don't think its bad, just be smart and not a dick.

Peter from Germany Reply Jul 8th, 2007

It is not the best place, it is danger to visit this place Riga.

Archie from United Kingdom Reply Jun 14th, 2007

Unfriendly & rip off pretty much sums up this and most other places in Latvia.

Gary fae Glasgow from United Kingdom Reply Jun 14th, 2007

Went Into Essential, 5 of us, they made 2 of us wait outside whilst the other 3 paid in. Once the 3 of had paid in, they immediately told the other 2, that they weren't getting in. Then said they could if they handed over 50 quid. the other 2 told them no way and left, but this will give you an idea of what these people are like, cynical and rip-off merchants... 6 quid for vodka red-bull

SVW from United Kingdom Reply Apr 9th, 2007

My friend felt sick. So he left the club for some fresh air. He was sick 'outside the club' on a side st. The bouncer asked him to clean the mess (fair enough). They then took him into a private room and punched him. I think because i was there, they stopped, and he still couldn't re enter the club. BE CAREFUL - THEY ARE POOR, AND JEALOUS OF OUR WEALTH!

Kaloian Nedqlkov from Bulgaria Reply Mar 14th, 2007

it's cool place with cool girls and music :)

Leigh Anderson from United Kingdom Reply Mar 4th, 2007

Worth going just to look at the wall ! you'll know what I mean once you've seen it. luvleeeee the girls be super to !

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