In 1995 Paddy Whelan's opened its doors for the first time and Riga had its first Irish pub. Fittingly, the founders of the pub were both expats, Australian-Latvian, Valdis Berzins, and his Australian wife of Irish roots, Julie Berzins. The name of the pub was taken from Mrs Berzins' great grandfather, and the now famous Mr Whelan's portrait used to adorn a wall in the center of the pub.
To make sure that the pub would be built in a truly Irish style, the couple contracted an Irish construction company. The two owners also placed advertise¬ments in several Irish newspapers looking for lads with a sense of adventure and bartending experience to work in Latvia for a few months. Martin Coghlan and Tim Whyte answered the call, arriving in Latvia at the end of June to assume managerial positions.
People from all corners of the world and all walks of life have since then visited the pub. From its opening it has been regarded as the quintessential pub experience in Riga and a visit to the Latvian capital should not be regarded as complete without a stop in this famous location.
Paddy Whelan's has been renovated and refurnished a couple of times throughout its existence and for a year it even hosted a TV reality show upstairs about working as a bartender or waitress.
The founders of Paddy Whelan's are no longer involved with the business, but their inspiring efforts to establish Riga's first Irish pub lives on.
Nowadays the pub has fallen back into older habits with expats frequenting the second floor for a pint of beer or a whiskey. The introduction of flat screen TVs has lent the pub a reputation of being one of the best in the city for live sports games.
One thing you might not find in many Irish pubs is an Indian Tikka kitchen with staff from India and Nepal. Traditional Indian cuisine as Tikka Masala and Madras has been added to the more recognizable traditional breakfasts, Irish stews and continental pub grub and are already staple items on the menu.
Where ever you come from and whatever you do for a living, Paddy Whelan's welcome you with open arms. Feel free to sit back and relax and enjoy a beer or two.