Light, limes and a touch of fizz

  • 2005-05-18
  • By Lydia Ernstsons
RIGA - Stylish, modern and elegant, Light Bar & Restaurant exceeds its rather uninspiring name. A human fishbowl, the place serves its purpose - given that Berga Bazars is the spot to be seen. The trendy shopping plaza off Elizabetes Street basks in its own little expensive world, adored by credit-card coveting wives and despised by their husbands.

About five months old, the restaurant serves European cuisine at palatable prices. Try the grilled duck, sweet potatoes, apple jam and red currant sauce for around 7 lats (10 euros) or the Thai coconut soup for 3. The beige and cream decor, surrounding an original centerpiece bar, make dining and drinking a suave experience. Take note 's this is not the place for jeans and Reeboks.

On Fridays and Saturdays Light stays aglow until 4 a.m., kept alive by old school music from the resident DJ. Sip on one of their 18 types of cocktails, light of cranberry (rum, cranberry, passion liquor, lemon juice and grenadine) being an in-house favorite. Do, however, remember to sip and not gulp - you are being observed. The huge glass facade means that everything, from the bartender's graceful juggling act to your clumsy drunken slip off the barstool, is on show. Whether you crave or despise public attention, attention is what you will get.

Disco dancing may occur after one too many drinks, but if you dance like I do then please use the bar for camouflage. During the day, the restaurant's engulfing window is especially enjoyable 's both inside and out. Pick any spot to admire the view and, if you're lucky, admire being admired.

My next stop, Fizzes Bar, a fun little place situated in Jacob's Barracks in Old Riga. Upon entering (or literally descending) you will be bombarded with limes. Limes painted on the wall, on the floor, lime placemats 's limes everywhere. I half expected the cocktail waitres to be dressed as one big lime. Thankfully she wasn't.

Fizzes Bar is small inside and I imagine that it was previously used as basement storage. For just a hole-in-the-wall, it offers an impressive list of cocktails, though priced from 2.5 's 4 lats. Unfortunately, the fact that there were only five people in there did little for the Saturday night 11 p.m. atmosphere. But, being newly opened, the place still has a chance, and lime fever may very well catch on.

Up until 10 p.m., Fizzes Bar serves food. The usual European cuisine, nothing jumped out at me from the menu. Distracted by the psychedelic yellow and green (and limes!), it became clear to me that this was a bar more than an eatery. Then again, the wide-screen TV - perfect for catching up on local sports - and the cocktail list could appease even the fussiest drinker.

Final verdict? Let there be light and more light with Light Bar. I'll definitely go back for more vitamin D. As for my citrus vitamin C, I would say that Fizzes Bar is a cute place to meet up with friends, but too quiet for a Saturday night (my Saturday nights anyway). I will definitely wait a while before returning. As for now, my eyes are all limed out.