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2020-09-19 18:37:42


DINING -> Bars
By Anatol Steven. 22.12.2011

Kaļķu 24 , Riga Phone: 2566 6689
Working hours: Wed-Sat 20:00 - 03:00

Nocturnal wanderings may entice you towards the first venue in the city that calls itself “burlesque”. In place of the central, sleazy, rather notorious club that used to be known as Pepsi Forums is Burlesque. A dark and cavernous entrance looming off pedestrian-only Kaļķu Street in Old Riga entices nocturnal wanderers. Wanderers should beware, however, as warnings from foreign embassies about this location are still in place.

The location remains sleazy. A little-explored “erotic museum” has opened, aptly enough, at the side of the entrance so that red lights glow in the shadows at all hours. A bar next door acts as a haven for bubbly young ladies of the night who invite passing men for a light.
Burlesque’s guests step through the gates at the end of the tunnel-like entranceway into an eerie courtyard that’s lost somewhere in time. A small door then leads to the cloakroom and into the auditorium.
Inside, red and black are dominant, English is spoken in strange accents, cabaret music that wouldn’t have been out of place in prewar Berlin bounces between the walls, and laughter explodes from the balcony.
A central stage and two small side stages loom over maybe 15 small tables. You take the soft seats covered in red cloth that have been reserved for you. On the stage sits Mama Morgan cross-legged brandishing her cigarette holder towards a grinning member of the audience. She looks like Alla Pugachova in late-period Elvis slouch, but she exercises a matronly voice and a wicked sense of humor.
Several sips of champagne later and out come the showgirls – all legs, straps and high heels. They cast off several items of clothing, but teasingly this is more Chicago than Kabukicho, more cabaret than grindhouse, more Alice in Wonderland than Dita Von Teese. Even though girls dominate the stage, in the audience there are as many women as there are men.
The performances are not all feminine. A magician does tricks with cards and illusions, while Mama Morgan keeps company with a svelte young lad in makeup.
Throughout the night suspenders are revealed and thighs are slapped. But the organizers are clearly trying to create a full evening’s entertainment of light-hearted antics that provoke more smiles and song than eroticism.
Tickets are 15-20 lats (€21-29) per person, the cheaper tables being the more comfortable but more distant ones on the balcony, and champagne and whisky appear to be the drinks of choice. Call ahead, in English or Russian, to reserve.