Striving to be ugly... and not making it

  • 2007-07-18
  • By Talis Saule Archdeacon

BAR FLIES: The popular Coyote Fly looks nothing like its counterpart in 'Coyote Ugly,' but it does have in-your-face barmaids, horny clients and, when things heat up, dancing on the bar.

RIGA - In a city with the high restaurant/bar turnover rate that Riga has, it can be difficult for a new bar to stir much interest before it establishes itself. One bar has recently managed to do just that, and in its few short months of existence has already become one of the most popular, trendy bars in town.
Its name is Coyote Fly, and it's located on the edge of Old Town near the Daugava. It is stuck behind a large glass and concrete building 's formerly a shopping center and now offices 's which not only blocks any view the bar might have of the river but also makes it rather difficult to find. Nevertheless, the bar's popularity, along with the line to get in, is growing every week.

I had expected to find something out of the movie "Coyote Ugly." What I first saw, however, was a far cry from a ratty bar decorated with pieced together bits of memorabilia. Coyote Fly has a crisp, clean atmosphere with lights bathing the bar in a red glow. Instead of the licence plates, money, and bras that decorate the film's bar, Coyote Fly features black and white still frames of the sort art students really enjoy... the same kind of stills that can be found most places around Old Town.
The smoking room is particularly nice though. It has an artsy, space-age feel to it. Warped glass tables sprout from the ground like mushrooms and glow green. One wall is covered in stumps, adding to the interesting atmosphere.

After my initial reaction to the decor wore off, I started to realize that the bar, looks aside, shares almost everything else with the one from the movie. There may not be a large stage, but it does have a little DJ box for hosting live shows. The bar-staff, composed entirely of beautiful women, have the same sort of in-your-face, upfront attitude. The customers were the same drunk and horny guys. And, of course, there are girls who start dancing on the bar as the evening wears on. 
I could see from the strong atmosphere 's and the winning formula of cute girls and live music 's why the bar has become so popular, but I was personally not very impressed with it. The mixed drinks were expensive enough to keep my hand out of my wallet. They're priced at 5 lats (7 euros) for one of the house cocktails, 4 lats for the other cocktails, and about 3 lats for a shot. The selection of beers is almost non-existent. They have two, both light.

The food is quite expensive as well. Their menu looks pretty standard for an Old Town restaurant/bar, with prices ranging from three to 6 lats for salads and appetizers, 2 to 3 lats for breakfast and 5 to 14 lats for a meal. There's a special business lunch which is a slightly better deal at 5 lats, but still not particularly cheap.
The service was also weak. It was hard to get the bartender's attention even though the bar was almost totally empty when we arrived, and she still managed to forget about our drinks. Then the bouncers took our chairs out from under us, without so much as an apology, so they could set up the patio for the night. Despite the funky atmosphere, Coyote Fly doesn't seem to be very different from most of the other bars in Old Town. It may have become one of the most trendy bars around, but only time will tell if it has the wherewithal to survive in Riga's rapidly changing nightlife scene.