Although other monuments like St. Anne’s or even the naval port have been around for centuries, these days it’s hard to imagine a Liepāja without former Danish rock musician Louis Fontaine. With two of Latvia’s most stylish, yet affordable, hotels to his credit as well as the nation’s only real alternative rock club and even a 24-hour fast food joint that delivers, his contributions to the daily life of the city are immense. While Riga’s youth grow up listening to the worst that European and Russian pop groups have to offer, Mr. Fontaine has indoctrinated an entire generation of Liepāja’s teenagers and twenty-somethings in the school of rock. His discerning musical ear has even been the bane of musicians performing at his own club. Back in 2008, Mr. Fontaine famously drove a generic glam rock band called SuperHuman off the stage claiming that he couldn’t bear such terrible music any longer. Although others might take advantage of this market share in music, food and accommodation in the city, his establishments remain affordable.
Unfortunately, on New Year's Eve 2009/2010, while Fontaine was on holiday abroad, a suspicious fire engulfed his legendary nightclub. Thankfully, no one was injured, but the historic building's ground floor was completely gutted. Fontaine blamed corrupt politicians for destroying his baby, but quickly rebuilt the local institution.
In short, while Russians, Swedes and Germans have all tried to leave their mark on the city, we hope that a certain Dane succeeds where others have failed.