The Black Magic of Riga

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You could easily walk past Black Magic without even noticing it, the dark, wooden exterior is carved with entwined snakes and staffs and above the door, the rune like words glow in a dark muted amber light. Walking in, you may feel like you’ve just walked into the lair of a bewitching sorceress.

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Old ceramic herb jars line the walls, interspersed with rows of dark brown medicine bottles of Riga Black Balsam. This thick, black, syrupy liqueur packs a punch but with it’s ancient recipe of mixed herbs and vodka, it’s often drunk as a tonic for good health.

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From the dark shadowy corners, gold touches dazzle and twinkle. A bouquet of golden glittering feathers, shining pots, an old till in antique faded brass, even gold taps and sinks in the bathrooms.

It definitely feels like you’ve tumbled into an ancient faerytale and that the beautiful waitress dressed in a gold medieval robe with a cascade of woven gold hair is really a princess, taken prisoner by the evil sorceress who is in the back room brewing a number of concoctions, and crafting hand made chocolates laced with potions.

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However Black Magic is actually a tea house by day and cocktail bar by night. After a long day of sightseeing, sink into one of the red velvet armchairs and try one of their delicious Black Magic hot chocolates. A glass of hot milk is served with a giant piece of chocolate, skewered with a wooden spoon. Lower the spoon into the milk and stir till all the chocolate has melted in and you’ll have one of the best hot chocolates of your life. The magic touch is definitely the Black Balsam infused in the chocolate!

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There was something incredibly mesmerising about this little bar – it was neither touristy nor incredibly local – it felt like it existed in a secret world – rather like the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter. I only wish we has stumbled upon it sooner in order to be able to try out the extensive cocktail menu of drinks, spiked with the true Riga Black Magic.

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Black Magic can be found on Kalku Iela, number 10  – right in the heart of the old city, on the main road that leads up to the Victory Monument. Check out their Facebook page for more photos and tantalising temptation: facebook.com/RigaBlackMagicBar

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